Czech prosecutors seek long jail term for energy regulator in solar fraud case

By bne IntelliNews December 9, 2015

Czech state prosecutor Radek Mezlik is seeking a nine-year sentence in a solar fraud case for the head of the Czech Energy Regulatory Office (ERU), Alena Vitaskova, local media reported on December 9.

Vitaskova is accused of illegally granting licences to two solar power plants causing billions of koruna damage to the state, CTK reports. The case concerns the Sasa-Sun and Zdenek-Sun power plants located near Chomutov, and owned by billionaire Zdenek Zemek, who controls Z-Group Steel Holding.

The plants were granted 20-year licences by ERU on December 31, 2010, only a few hours before new legislation came into force that saw state guarantees on the price of energy from solar power plants significantly reduced. Overly generous state subsidies for solar plants in the last decade saw installations mushroom, adding huge costs onto consumers for years to come.

Vitaskova denies any wrongdoing. She has led a campaign against state support systems for solar power and other renewable energy sources. She has accused government officials, some of the largest Czech companies and oligarchs, and managers within ERU itself, of corrupt practices in connection with the scheme. She also pushed through significant cuts in the regulated earnings of gas and electricity companies.

Vitaskova was charged with abuse of power in the summer over her appointment of what anti-corruption police claimed is an unqualified deputy at ERU. The regulator chief insists former state attorney Renata Vesecka is qualified and that she will fight the case. Mezlik claims the clearance of the solar power facilities saw Vitaskova and several others handed millions of crowns.

Vitaskova has fought many battles with Czech political figures since taking over at ERU in mid-2011, and also claims that at least one attempt has been made on her life. Appointed by former ODS PM Petr Necas, whose government fell in 2013, the ERU head has also attacked the gas and power industry via regulated tariffs and has taken on the growing bio-methane segment.

Related Articles

Latvia issues permits to new gas infrastructure holding

The Latvian Public Utilities Commission (SPRK) announced on January 5 that it has issued licences to Conexus Baltic Grid for the transmission and storage of gas. Conexus Baltic Grid will control ... more

Iran to seek arbitration over termination of gas flow from Turkmenistan

The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) intends to take its recent gas dispute with Turkmenistan to international arbitration, Mehr News Agency reported on January 4, citing ... more

CEZ ignores Czech finance minister and re-elects CEO

The supervisory board at Czech power group CEZ ignored pressure from the finance ministry to dump the current management, local media report. Finance Minister Andrej Babis has been accumulating ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss