Will Viktor Kozeny ever be convicted?

“Viktor Kozeny won’t be given to the USA to be judged there” That is the verdict of the Bahama supreme court of this Wednesday. And we weren’t very surprised, because Kozeny’s history is a history of scams and tricks.

Just for the case you have never heard of the most famous Czech thief, who in the early ’90s ran one of the greatest scams of the post-Communist era; Viktor Kozeny is by the media often called “the pirate of Prague”.

Viktor Kozeny During the Communist regime, it was common for the state to steal companies from its citizen and to ‘communize’ it. When the Communist regime fell, the solution of this situation seemed in the so-called coupon privatization. In this enterprise, Czech state assets were supposed to be handed over to Czech citizens through a system of coupon vouchers, which could then be used to buy shares in companies.

This later appeared quite rush, as there was insufficient system of control at the time. Mutual funds were founded, most successfully the one started by Kozeny: ‘Harvard Capital and Consulting’ (Kozeny gained an economics degree at Harvard University, than he decided to simply steal the name).

Kozeny used the fact Czechs became gullible during the past era, and offered them 1000% rate of return on investment. Only this fact seems incredible from today’s point of view, doesn’t it. Harvard Funds bought shares in a number of companies, stripped assets and transferred the money abroad to offshore tax havens like the Bahamas. This scam turned out to be a huge success for Kozeny and his cronies, who allegedly stole millions of dollars from investors in his funds.

During the next decades, he repeated this scam and invented other, usually abusing obvious imperfection of post-communist countries and his perfect genius, and making additional billions. The ‘American scam’ because of which he should be delivered to the USA, was based on US investors handling their money to him in Azerbaijan, (over $400 million in total from clients such as AIG and Columbia University) and he escaping to Bahamas afterwards.

Will he ever be given to the US justice? It’s doubtful, because of his obvious intelligence and his level of possession. Will he ever be given to the Czech justice? Improbable. Unlike the United States, the Czech Republic has no extradition treaty with the Bahamas.

And will the investors see any of their money back? The courts have frozen those of his accounts they know about, so he could later pay off his debts. Kozeny claims that he lost everything in his past three divorces.

Trinidad Residence Prague

Walking distance to Prague Castle, in centre of historical Prague.

Pension Digitals Prague

Family Pension in a quiet area between Prague Castle and Ruzyne airport

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