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The Nuclear Influence. How Russia Acts on the Central European Energy Market

The Nuclear Influence. How Russia Acts on the Central European Energy Market

30 years later after the fall of communism, Central Europe’s industries are connected to the West in innumerable ways. But signs that its nuclear industry continues to be heavily influenced by Russian interests are everywhere. In the Czech Republic, the most prominent nuclear engineering company is owned by a Russian energy giant. In Slovakia, Russian-led banks, including the controversial International Investment Bank, are providing multi-million euro loans to the national firm that is building the country’s new nuclear reactors and a Russian supplier recently beat an American competitor in a public tender to provide nuclear fuel for the country’s nuclear...

The Kočner cases

The Kočner cases

For over 20 years, the controversial businessman Marian Kočner was widely suspected of multiple financial crimes, including VAT fraud, forging promissory notes, and even taking over a popular independent TV station. Though police opened investigations into some of these cases, and the evidence of his crimes was publicly available and overwhelming, Kočner was never successfully prosecuted. Blackmail, corruption, and personal connections with pliant prosecutors, judges, and well-placed insiders. His success paints an unflattering picture of the justice system in a country that has often been touted as a poster child for successful transition from communist rule to European rule of...

Kočner’s World

Kočner’s World

For years, Marian Kočner was one of the most wealthy and powerful businessmen in Slovakia, a man whose connections with judges and prosecutors made him virtually untouchable, and whose extravagance made him a frequent fixture in local tabloids. Today, the middle-aged businessman’s craggy face and prominent shock of black hair are mostly seen in dispatches from the courtroom he sits in day after day. Kočner is the main defendant in a high-profile trial that has gripped the country since December. He is charged with ordering the brutal murder of a young investigative journalist who had been reporting on corrupt Slovak...

The Chef’s Global Footprints

The Chef’s Global Footprints

The US government recently went after some of Prigozhin’s assets, but there’s more.  The shadowy interests of Yevgeny Prigozhin — a Russian businessman and close associate of President Vladimir Putin — have just become a little clearer. Over the past year, reporters from OCCRP’s Russian partner, Novaya Gazeta, tracked the registration details and movements of business jets linked to Prigozhin. They reveal significant Russian involvement and activity in Africa, and a mysterious trail of previously undisclosed European companies linked to Prigozhin. For example, a Prigozhin-linked jet transported a Russian military delegation to Sudan right after the April coup that unseated...

What’s wrong with Huawei?!

What’s wrong with Huawei?!

Huawei is at the center of heated political debate around the world. There is a general assumption among experts on China, ICT (Information and Communications Technology) experts and politicians that the company uses its ICT devices to spy on its users and provide this data to Chinese government. Though there have been separate cases of Huawei breaches of consumer trust, however, no one has ever came up with bullet proof evidence of systematic abuse of Huawei devices. Huawei highlights that unlike in the case of the USA and its NASA scandal, no surveillance and listening to European politicians has ever been proven....

Exit the Dragon

Exit the Dragon

Early in the morning on January 8th, agents of the Polish Internal Security Agency entered the homes of Piotr D. and Wejing W. The former, who used to work in special services, was a manager at Orange, a telecommunications company. The latter was the head of sales at Poland’s Huawei’s office. They were charged with acts of espionage for China and jailed for three months. They are currently facing ten years in prison. The decision to detain them was unprecedented. Never before had a Chinese citizen been detained in Poland on espionage charges. The services had paid little attention to...