Police took into custody the Czech Republic's top media mogul, Vladmir Zelezny, on Nov. 13 in a move that appears timed to coincide with recent international rulings against Zelezny and his firm, CET-21.
The arrest of Zelezny could put a hitch in the planned sale of Barrandov Studios, but observers say it might be a good sign for foreign investors, particularly in the media sector. Prague has recently been considered a hot spot for Hollywood shoots due to skilled labor and low costs.
Bianca Bezdek, an attorney with Linklaters based in Prague and Berlin specializing in the media sector, said the actions against Zelezny "are collectively understood by the foreign business sector in the Czech Republic to be long overdue." She added that recent events marked "the beginning of a campaign aimed at polishing the Czech Republic's tarnished image."
Zelezny spent the night in jail on Tuesday following the arrest of his lawyer, Ales Rozehnal, Nov. 5. Both are charged with attempting to harm creditors. The moves come on the heels of a September ruling by an international tribunal in Stockholm that said the Czech Republic was responsible for the losses of CME, the media company owned by U.S. cosmetics heir Ron Lauder.
Nova was reportedly close to a deal under which Nova would purchase Barrandov, the country's major studio complex on the outskirts of Prague.