Czech lawyer in CC case arrested on fraud charges

Nova TV lawyer suspected of $23m damage to CME, as CC awaits arbitration appeal

Czech police have arrested lawyer Ales Rozehnal on fraud charges dating back to his position at Nova TV, a company heavily invested in by Debevoise & Plimpton client Central European Media Enterprises (CME).
Debevoise recently won a Stockholm Arbitration Panel victory against Clifford Chance client the Czech government. In an extremely complicated case, CME argued that the Czech government had failed to protect it against TV station boss Vladimir Zelezny and his lawyer Ales Rozehnal (The Lawyer, 29 October).
Rozehnal was arrested last week and accused of “attempting to harm a creditor”, a charge similar to fraud which can carry a sentence of up to eight years imprisonment. The charge relates to earlier accusations that Zelezny caused $23m (£15.83m) of financial damage to CME. It is thought that Rozehnal may have been complicit in Zelezny's activities. Zelezny is thought to have fled the country and attempts to seize his assets have been unsuccessful.
The judge on the Roze-hnal case, Pavel Sedlacek, said that the lawyer was taken into custody to ensure that he did not interfere with witnesses. Sedlacek also revealed that four new witnesses were being questioned about documents confiscated by the police.
The case has caused uproar in the Czech Republic and the government was under pressure to act following its defeat before the Stockholm panel.
Clifford Chance intends to appeal the panel's decision before the Swedish courts, but, contrary to reports in the Czech press, has not yet done so. The firm has until December to file a case with the domestic Swedish courts.
Meanwhile, CME will ask the Stockholm arbitration court to award damages. Clifford Chance will try to stay an award, but should it fail to do so, Debevoise will have to release evidence demonstrating the extent of its client's loss, information that will no doubt be of great interest to the police in the criminal investigation of Rozehnal.