The Coalition has launched protests at controversial Czech billionaire’s residence to hold him accountable for perpetrating what they call the “fraud of the century” which in turn gave birth to the Ostrava Housing Crisis
HILTON HEAD – (ACN Newswire) – The Coalition to Protect OKD Miners (“the Coalition”), an organization created to advocate on behalf of Czech coal miners, has launched protests at the Hilton Head, SC estate of Zdenek Bakala. Protesters, dressed as coal miners, descended on Bakala’s estate to demand Bakala make amends for his past alleged wrongdoings.
The protest at Bakala’s estate marks the fourth such demonstration that the coalition has undertaken in the past week. Previously, the coalition set up rallies outside the M&T Bank branch in New York and M&T Bank Headquarters in Buffalo to protest M&T Bank’s role as security agent for a housing fund which has left Czech coal miners at risk of homelessness (via its subsidiary Wilmington Trust) and also outside the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters (as a shareholder of M&T Bank). The main aim of the coalition is to urge a resolution of the Ostrava Housing Crisis.
The coalition accuses Mr. Bakala of cheating workers, taxpayers and investors alike with vast financial scams. Among the most serious of the allegations was that Bakala indirectly purchased the Czech coal company, OKD, from the Czech government at a below-market rate due to corrupt deal-making. OKD was made a subsidiary of New World Resources N.V. (“NWR”), a publicly traded international energy firm which he also controlled at the time.
He subsequently is alleged to have plundered OKD by taking excessive profits and dividends. Numerous investors lost money betting on OKD — through buying NWR stock — based on allegedly false promises made by Bakala. When the company started to fail, the Coalition alleges that Bakala swiftly sold off housing units, promised contractually to miners at discounted pricing, to Fondy Bydleni, a Luxembourg housing fund which owns the Czech property firm RESIDOMO and backed by Blackstone and Round Hill Capital. The housing fund has refused to honor the reduced price housing unit contract leaving the coal miners at risk of losing their homes. Moreover, investors in NWR’s Initial Public Offering and those who subsequently bought NWR stock on the London and Warsaw exchanges took substantial losses which, according to the coalition, are due to Bakala’s purposefully misleading statements to investors and his failure to provide necessary disclosures.
More details and documentation of the aforementioned allegations can be found at the coalition’s website www.StopBakala.org.
Bakala is currently facing civil litigation as well as criminal investigation by authorities in the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Poland and the EU. In the Czech Republic, the special investigation committee of the Czech Parliament is investigating the issue directly. The Coalition has accused Bakala of attempting to off-shore his assets from the Czech Republic, including his famed Forum Karlin property, to avoid liabilities.
The coalition issued the following statement.
“The Coalition will hold Bakala and those who associate with him accountable for acts of fraud against investors, taxpayers and workers. While his victims suffer, Bakala enjoys the jet-setting lifestyle between his vineyard in South Africa, his villa in Switzerland and his estate in Hilton Head at their expense. We will continue to hold peaceful protests so that Bakala and his associates are reminded of the crimes they have committed and the victims harmed. We will not rest until the stakeholders involved put a solution together to solve Ostrava Housing Crisis and until Bakala is held accountable both civilly and criminally.”
Coalition to Protect OKD Miners
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