Final Word from Tuesday, February 11, 2003

The cabinet is to decide tomorrow on a Kč 6bn ($204m) state loan guarantee for Sazka's new hockey stadium, and the media and public opinion are strongly opposed. Never have the media been so united against Sazka. It has aggressively attacked its opponents in the past, but now there's safety in numbers. The media can insist that Sazka disclose not only the financial figures for its stadium, but also details about where the money from its monopoly lottery business goes. Czech Television has done the most in this respect so far, pointing out a Kč 1.3bn hole in Sazka's finances in 2000 and questioning Sazka's contributions to Czech sports on its Fakta show last night. CEO Aleš Hušák said on the TV station that Sazka is the only large Czech financial institution that hasn't been tunneled or plundered since 1989. Czech TV, and others, would like him to prove it.


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