Czech-Slovak investment group J&T’s quick and forcible approach to energy giant CEFC China Energy has proven to be the correct one.
J&T froze CEFC’s assets in the Czech Republic after it failed to repay an 11.5 billion crown ($522 million) loan, announcing to the Chinese Central Headquarters that it would release the assets only after the loan has been repaid.
J&T has so far received approximately 1.5 billion crowns.
Due to the debt default, J&T took over the leadership of CEFC’s European branch and filed a criminal complaint with the police. The leadership of CEFC Europe was subsequently dismantled and J&T’s own crisis management team was put in place.
The Chinese state-owned CITIC Group, which has a 49 percent stake in CEFC China Energy, began to negotiate debt repayment with J&T. CITIC promised to pay back all of CEFC Europe’s loan to J&T through Rainbow Wisdom, a subsidiary of CITIC.
In return, J&T promised to gradually release CEFC’s pledged assets once the debt was repaid, which in the end actually occurred.
A Brief History
China CEFC had previously chosen the Czech Republic as the seat of its European activities and had also bought shares in several companies in the Czech Republic.
On Feb. 2, 2018, CEFC Europe and J&T entered into a 450 million euro loan agreement and signed a pledge agreement.
On March 28, J&T delivered a notice of a breach of agreement to CEFC and advised that it had acquired voting rights to its shares, which it would enforce at its own discretion.
Under pressure, the representatives of CITIC Group came to the Czech Republic to negotiate debt repayment and the recovery of CEFC Europe’s assets on 7 May. They gradually reached a mutual agreement and debt repayment was carried out.
CEFC Problems in Africa
It has been shown that CEFC uses a tremendous amount of money as a tool to influence people in key positions in different countries in order to carry out its plans. The United States recently arrested former Hong Kong agent Patrick Ho Chi Ping, who now acts as Secretary General of the China Energy Fund Committee, on suspicion of large-scale bribery of representatives of Chad and Uganda, the South China Morning Post reported.
Along with Ho Chi Ping, former Senegal’s Foreign Minister Cheikh Gadio, was also detained. The U.S. Department of Justice said Ho Chi Ping and Gadio offered Chad President Idrisa Déby $2 million for which they were to receive oil licenses in exchange. Another $500,000 was reportedly sent to another account, owned by Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa.
Ho Chi Ping and Gadio were charged with “violating the law against foreign corruption and money laundering,” for which they face up to 20 years if guilty.
CEFC Problems in China
The head of CEFC, Ye Jianming, became the official economic adviser to President Milos Zeman in 2015 and his company began to invest heavily in the Czech Republic. According to the latest verified reports, Jianming was charged with economic crimes in China and was arrested in mid-February 2018.
Ye Jianming’s company had more than 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) in real estate, including a unit in Trump World Tower, several floors of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and its headquarters in a ritzy Shanghai neighborhood, Bloomberg News reported.
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