Final Word from Tuesday, September 24, 2019

"Forging Partnerships, Advancing Growth" could easily be the slogan of the new National Development Fund, which was officially unveiled on Fri. by PM Andrej Babiš, Industry Min. Karel Havlíček and Dir. Jiří Jirásek of the ČMZRB state development bank. Alas, it's instead the slogan of the nominally similar 1MDB state development fund of Malaysia. That fund is under criminal or regulatory investigation in at least 10 countries for suspicion of corruption, money-laundering and other offenses. Malaysia has filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and 17 of its current or former employees. "It can't happen here," might argue the four Czech commercial banks involved as "investors" in Babiš's new fund. Yet the founding of the fund was cloaked in hyperbole and vagueness. It took an interview on Fri. with CEO John Hollows of ČSOB to show that this is a flat-out for-profit venture. It might work anyway, but only if the myriad conflicts of interest are managed. [ Czech Republic NRF NDF Česká spořitelna Komerční banka UniCredit private equity ]

Glossary of difficult words

to forge - to create (something) strong, enduring or successful; to make or shape (a metal object) by heating it in a fire or furnace and hammering it;

to cloak - to hide, cover or disguise (something);

hyperbole - exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally;

flat-out - absolute, downright;

myriad - a countless or extremely large number of people or things.

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