Final Word from Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"She should found a company like Strabag," Heinz-Christian Strache of Austria's FPÖ party said of a purported Russian millionaire, "then all the public tenders Strabag now receives would be hers." It was quite an offer: Buy Kronen Zeitug and help promote FPÖ, and we'll swap out one Russian oligarch for another one (Oleg Deripaska owns 26% of Strabag). If it works in Austria, why not in the Austrian hinterland of Bohemia and Moravia? Andrej Babiš wants banks to put 10-20% of their dividends into a new fund. Yet banks have strict rules about the use of after-tax profit. At Komerční banka, for example, it may be used under Art. 25 of the statues for paying dividends, increasing capital, setting aside retained earnings, covering losses ... or topping up the bank's funds. KB's board could co-found a new private-equity fund (Art. 20) with other banks under an innocuous name (say, the National Development Fund), contribute 10-20% of after-tax profit to it, and then help Babiš squeeze his oligarchic rivals - Penta, PPF - out of key public projects. Strache and Babiš are on the same wavelength. [ Czech Republic oligarchs Freedom construction tax PPP ]

Glossary of difficult words

private equity - an alternative investment class consisting of capital that is not listed on a public exchange; private equity is composed of funds and investors that directly invest in private companies, or that engage in buyouts of public companies;

purported - appearing to be so;

to swap out - to replace or exchange someone or something with another person or thing;

retained earnings - profits generated by a company that are not distributed to stockholders (shareholders) as dividends;

to top up - to add an extra amount of something, esp. money, to an existing amount to create the total needed;

innocuous - not interesting, stimulating or significant; not likely to irritate or offend;

to be on the same wavelength - to think in a similar way and to understand each other.

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