Three thousand defrauded clients and a billion crowns that disappeared into the unknown. This is only part of the problems associated with the IC Group holding company, which, according to its own statement, should also have valued the capital of the Sultan of Malaysia in the Czech Republic. What has been found out about the people standing in the background? And what role does the Malaysian monarch’s Czech wife Diana Petra play?
What you will also hear in today’s episode at 5:59
- That the IC Group protected itself in the Czech Republic by cooperating with the Sultan of Malaysia, but his actual involvement is marginal.
- How do the authorities comment on the situation where a company with an unclear background controls the supplier of the Czech army Tesla.
- What do we know about the Malaysian sultan’s Czech wife, who apparently played a role in his domestic engagement.
It presents itself as a large international group investing capital around the world. In the case of the Czech Republic, the IC Group fund also boasted that Sultan Muhammad V., who heads one of the federal states of Malaysia, would invest in the country through it. However, the real activities of IC Group cause confusion. And they also leave behind clients who vainly demand the payment of their deposits.
Roughly three thousand people from the Czech Republic invested in Diversity Capital from the IC Group. “They were mainly driven there by the prospect of a high valuation, which the company promised was higher than 20 percent. She was to keep half of it and promised clients a fixed return of 12 percent per year. It is not at all clear what this decree was supposed to be based on,” he says in an interview for the 5:59 podcast reporter Daniel Novák from the economic editorial office of Seznam Správ. He has been dealing with cases surrounding the IC Group for the past few weeks.
According to Novák, Diversity Capital received around one billion crowns from clients. But at the moment it does not have the resources to pay those who want their money back. “We have information from sources within the group that the money (that was in Diversity Capital) was used to finance normal operations and to reward employees,” says Novák. He points out that Diversity Capital has not been publishing financial statements for a long time.
The so far “unconquerable” billion crowns is not the only question mark surrounding IC Group’s activities. The Seznam Zpráv reporter points out, for example, that the level of involvement of the monarch from Malaysia is actually only marginal. Within the IC Group, it is to be conducted through The Royal Invest Fund of Kelantan. But Muhammad V. only holds nine percent of it, Novák calculates. According to him, the rest is under the control of entities about which we do not know much.
The Sultan’s link with the Czech Republic – his wife
It is not too clear why the sultan chose the Czech Republic from a distant Asian country. But there are some indications – Muhammad V. had as his wife the Czech Jana Jakubkova, today known under the royal name Diana Petra. At the same time, this woman has known one of the key representatives of IC Group for a long time. According to Novák, it is possible that Diana Petra played an important role in creating the story about the investments of the Malaysian royal family in the Czech Republic. However, she did not respond to the questions sent.
Similarly mysterious is the key character of the whole story – the founder of IC Group named Hasan Kuchakov. He appears in business registers in different countries with different passports – according to Novák, Kuchakov can be traced as a citizen of Russia, Tajikistan, but also Italy. He was the general director of the group until the spring of last year, but after the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, Kuchakov disappeared from most of the bodies within the IC Group.
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Another highly visible project of the IC Group, which was the acquisition of a chateau in Protivín in southern Bohemia, has also ended ingloriously. Through the Malaysian royal fund, he bought it in 2021 for one hundred million crowns from business partner lobbyist Roman Janoušek. The plans were big. “It was supposed to become a sort of showcase for the real estate projects of the entire group,” Novák describes, adding that the investor’s representatives also mentioned the possibility of inviting the Malaysian king to Protivín in the future.
But the facade of the castle is still surrounded by scaffolding today. “At first glance, nothing is happening at the castle,” says a reporter who visited the site recently. For a long time, no one was seen on the construction site, not even the local residents who were contacted. The freezing of work thus confirms information from within the IC Group that, due to the group’s financial problems, there is no money to continue the reconstruction.
Another engagement of the IC Group is also noteworthy – last year it managed to acquire a Czech Tesla stock. It is, among other things, a supplier of the domestic army and keeps the background check top secret. According to Novák, it is “blatant” when such an enterprise is under the control of a fund behind which there is opaque capital and demonstrable ties to Russia. However, the Ministry of Defense says it has checked the company.
Will creditors receive their deposits?
IC Group explains its current financial problems by saying that it is unable to get more money from abroad to the Czech Republic, allegedly due to too careful scrutiny by the Czech authorities. They are said to check the origin of her money so meticulously that its flow from abroad is practically stopped.
At the same time, IC Group states that it will start paying Diversity Capital clients from May. But according to Novák, he has been promising a remedy since January. “He repeatedly overwhelms creditors with promises. So the question is whether he will really fulfill the promise that he will start repaying debts from May,” he says.
According to the reporter, the case highlights, among other things, the importance of investors’ financial literacy. “After all, a warning exclamation mark should jump out at a person – at the moment when someone offers him such a safe and high valuation, regardless of what is happening,” adds Novák, adding that the main responsibility still lies with the one who offers such investments.
In the 5:59 podcast, you will also learn what was discovered about other people behind the activities of the IC Group, or that at the beginning of its activity in the Czech Republic, the fund offered bank guarantees, even though it was not a bank. Listen in the player at the beginning of the article.
Editor and Co-Editor: Barbora Sochorová, Matěj Válek
Sound design: David Kaiser
Sources of audio samples: Television List, Stream – The Mysteries of Josef Klíma, ČT24, TV Nova, Český rozhlas Plus, Český rozhlas Radiožurnál, Impuls, YouTube – NST Online, YT – 2 Sister’s
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