A classic muster, says the reporter about the disappeared savings through “Violet’s” pawn shop

A classic muster, says the reporter about the disappeared savings through “Violet’s” pawn shop
A classic muster, says the reporter about the disappeared savings through “Violet’s” pawn shop

Hundreds of millions of crowns collected from small investors in the Czech Republic disappeared without the valuation promised by Glocin. As Seznam Zpráv reporters found out, this company had an account with Kampelička, which also figures in several other suspicious cases. In the 5:59 podcast, we discuss it with SZ investigative reporter Lukáš Valášek.

What will you also hear in today’s 5:59 episode?

  • What role does the ex-collaborator of the convicted fraudster Radovan Krejčíř play in Glocin’s business?
  • Why did the company use Podnikatelská družstevní zálna for transactions, which is also connected with other cases that were described in the Report List.
  • Where has the police investigation reached so far – and why they postponed the case surrounding Glocin in the past.

The Entrepreneurial Credit Union (PDZ), in which, among other things, some ODS politicians, including Prime Minister Petr Fiala, used to save their money, figures in another case. According to Seznam Zpráv findings, its functioning played a crucial role in the case surrounding Glocin, which was co-founded by former member of Radovan Krejčíře’s gang, Aleš Kohoutek. In the past, he was repeatedly convicted of various financial machinations.

Glocin promised that through investing in cryptocurrency mining, he would appreciate the money with almost no risk. But that didn’t happen. Thousands of people who put money into the project but lost hundreds of millions of crowns. And according to investigative reporter Seznam Zpráv Lukáš Valášek it is not certain that they will ever see the money again.

“It is a classic pattern that we have already described in other financial schemes in the past. Financial advisors played an important role there, but also various personalities on social networks, who sold it as a very profitable investment and concealed the risks,” explains the journalist in an interview with the 5:59 podcast. According to him, the company’s clients included women on maternity leave who borrowed from the bank for investment and lost the money they invested.

The role of the man who worked for Krejčír

However, Glocin’s business could not function if the company did not have a bank account. And that almost happened. Traditional banking institutions, which are obliged to prevent money laundering, refused Glocin or canceled his accounts. In the end, however, the already mentioned Enterprise Credit Union allowed the company to set up an account.

What was her reason for this, but she did not explain to the editors. Her media representative Dagmar Schejbalová only stated that she could not comment on specific clients. And even the then chairman of the board of directors of PDZ, René Szonowski, who has died, cannot provide more information. Only the co-owner of Glocin Aleš Kohoutek presented the explanation, who claims that it was “some kind of barter”.

Who is Aleš Kohoutek?

  • Today, the leading figure of Glocin, which offered people an appreciation of up to 20 percent per year.
  • Kohoutek has been convicted repeatedly in the past. For example, he received 7.5 years for credit fraud. He also had to go to prison for several months in 2018, when he was already leading Glocin – for tax fraud.
  • He also sat on the dock for the fact that, as a member of Radovan Krejčíř’s gang, he manipulated an official of the state-owned company Čepro into hiding from the management the invitations to court hearings, where the company was supposed to defend itself against the fictitious billion-dollar claims of Krejčíř’s companies. Only the intervention of the police saved Čepro from execution.
  • The last time he received a conditional sentence was last year due to tax cuts with damages of eight million crowns.

“The chairman of the board at the time (Szonowský) – according to Aleš Kohoutek’s construction – wanted something for it: an injection of roughly 15 million for his second project called Xixoio. The listeners may know him, because today members of his management are accused of defrauding their ‘investors’. And the 15 million from the money of Glocin’s investors also disappeared there,” Valášek describes in the podcast.

In an interview given to Seznam Zprávám, Kohoutek described his perspective on the functioning of the company. For example, he states in it that a significant part of the money from the Enterprise Credit Union went to the network of companies of the Slovak businessman Maroš Mikláš. The latter was supposed to evaluate people’s investments by unspecified cryptocurrency trading in the United States. It is said that Kohoutek tried to invest the rest himself.

“The reason why (Kohoutek) communicates with us at all is that the police are circling around Glocin again. And he is actually the only person who acted for him on the outside. In reality, he is in danger of having to pay for the whole problem himself in the final,” says Valášek. However, Mikláš also spoke to reporters, who claims that Kohoutek is to blame for the failure to fulfill promises about the appreciation of money and its disappearance.

“Supervisors have failed”

It is not clear where the money from Glocin’s dealings ended up. According to Valášek, the police in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are now interested in this. However, the reporter warns that it is possible that the detectives will evaluate the case as “a business dispute between two groups, not a fraud” and postpone the search.

This would repeat history. Investigators were already interested in Glocin several years ago, when the Financial Analysis Office filed a criminal complaint against the company. However, the police dismissed the case at the time, saying that it was not a fraud.

However, the journalist Valášek points out that the documents available to the editors indicate that the police acted in a “relatively formalistic” manner. They were mainly based on documents presented by Glocin himself. In essence, however, they did not deal with whether money was actually being valued.

Photo: David Neff, News List

Investigative reporter Seznam Správ Lukáš Valášek.

“It is good to underline that in order for the company to be profitable, the appreciation – according to what Aleš Kohoutek says – would have to be more than 50% per year. (…) The appreciation that Mr. Mikláš would have to achieve by mining cryptocurrencies would have to be truly astronomical and unique by the standards of the financial market. And until now, we have no evidence that this was really the case,” says Valášek.

And doubts also hover over the Entrepreneurial Credit Union, through which Glocin’s money flowed. In recent years, it has been repeatedly fined by the Czech National Bank and the Financial Analytical Office, saying that the mechanisms to prevent money laundering do not function sufficiently. But that didn’t stop Glocin from trading in the past years. The central bank only ordered the license withdrawal procedure now.

“For me, this is a story about how the supervisory authorities – be it the police or the Czech National Bank – in this case, for a completely unknown reason, failed and did not prevent suspicious financial flows, even though they had signals for many years that the problems were in Podnikatelská credit unions really deep,” describes Valášek.

However, according to him, the case of Glocin and his account in PDZ is also a warning in relation to the fact that clients of the credit union – or rather direct shareholders – were prominent figures of the ODS at various times. “After the Ukrainian transaction, we now see in the second case that (Kampelička) was at the same time a hotbed of very suspicious financial operations,” adds the Seznam Zpráv reporter, referring to the case of lost money, which Ukraine intended to use to buy ammunition.

In the 5:59 podcast, you will also learn more about the cases connected with Podnikatelská družstevní zálafna or what else the actors of the Glocin case, Aleš Kohoutek and Maroš Mikláš, claim. Listen in the player at the beginning of the article.

Editor and Co-Editor: Matěj Válek, Dominika Kubištová

Sound design: Ursula Sereghy

Sources of audio samples: archive of reporter Seznam Práv Lukáš Valášek, ČT24, TV Nova, CNN Prima NEWS, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (psp.cz)

Podcast 5:59

The news podcast of Lenka Kabrhelova’s team. One essential topic every weekday in minute six. The most important events in the Czech Republic, in the world, politics, economy, sport and culture through the lens of Seznam Zpráv.

You can find an archive of all parts on our website. Write us your observations, comments or tips via social networks or by e-mail: [email protected].

The article is in Czech

Tags: classic muster reporter disappeared savings Violets pawn shop


PREV It shouldn’t have happened. After criticism, Israel acknowledged the mistake in the intervention of the humanitarian convoy
NEXT Ukraine lowers the age for mobilization to 25 years. Zelenskyy gives in to pressure