Final Word from Thursday, April 25, 2002

There was a time in the mid-1990s when it seemed that Viktor Kožený was doing his best to damage his own reputation, so he could scoop up shares in his Harvard funds at low prices. Money, at that point, was more important than what people thought. Some Czech lobbyists and power brokers seem to have this attitude today. Euro magazine says they like having the image of "secret demons." They use it to charge fat fees and to grease the wheels for their clients. In many cases, what they do is perfectly legal. (No lobbyist in the CR has ever been charged with bribery, according to Police Col. Pavel Hájek.) In other cases they, like Kožený, are crossing the line and are giving their profession a bad name. In Brussels, says lobbyist Nicole Bar, reputation is everything for a lobbyist. To a certain extent, notoriousness still counts more in the CR. lobbying


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