Final Word from Wednesday, December 3, 2003





Týden printed a list of 20 top Czech businessmen who've seen the inside of a jail cell. Few of them stayed there for long. Viktor Kožený, the most famous Czech billionaire, hasn't been behind bars at all, because he skipped town. Yesterday he announced plans to run for the European Parliament for the CR, perhaps to gain immunity. His flirtation with politics is something he has in common with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia's richest inmate, and Sen. Vladimír Železný. The most interesting comparison is the way greedy U.S. investors turned Kožený, Khodorkovsky and Železný into heroes. The investors weren't concerned about how the three did business or made their money, until the investors' own money was stolen or put at risk. Thankfully, Czechs usually aren't so quick to rehabilitate their fallen businessmen. But then they did elect Železný to the Senate. Senator

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