The Czech branch of Chinese energy giant CEFC has added to its pile of troubles after failing to repay an 11.5 billion crown ($522 million) loan to Czech-Slovak investment group J&T.
CEFC’s much-lauded investment in the Czech Republic came to a swift end after its director, Ye Jianming, was taken away by communist authorities in China for economic crimes. The company’s assets have begun to be liquidated to repay its loans inside China and abroad.
CEFC Europe first bought a 9.9 percent share in J&T for approximately 5 billion crowns ($226 million) and subsequently executed a loan of 11.5 billion crowns from the same investment group, Czech daily Echo24 reported. As a result, CEFC earned 7 billion more than they put in.
Jianming was a close adviser to Czech President Miloš Zeman, who had repeatedly declared how much the Czech Republic would benefit from tens of millions in Chinese investment. The resulting balance shows that all the acquisitions made by CEFC in the Czech Republic were paradoxically financed by a J&T loan. In effect, all of its investments were actually paid for by Czechs and Slovaks.
Due to a debt default, the leadership of CEFC Europe was taken over by J&T Private Investments. J&T dissolved the CEFC leadership and set up its own crisis management.
Because the loan from J&T was backed up by the property of CEFC Europe, the investment group took over all of CEFC Europe’s assets to ensure the financial return on the loan. The investment group now wants to conduct a financial and legal audit of the CEFC European office, reported Czech news site Novinky.cz.
CEFC Europe originally wanted to take out a much larger loan from J&T and buy a 50 percent share in the company. However, the deal was blocked by the Czech National Bank.