Former paper-industry boss Šabatka unveils how corruption pushed a Finnish corporation out of the Czech Republic

Almost exactly six years have passed since the Finnish paper-manufacturing corporation Myllykoski announced the abandonment of its huge investment project in the Czech Republic. It had intended to build a CZK13bn paper mill in Opatovice (Eastern Bohemia) – but at the end of the day chose Plattling in Germany. The official reasons given by the investor were red tape, and resistance from environmental NGOs. The éminence grise behind their decision was a Czech paper industry boss with long-standing experience as the Štětí paper mill manager – Tomáš Šabatka. The Finns first hired him as an advisor, then as their top manager. In an interview for, Šabatka has just disclosed the true reason behind the collapse of the deal in the Czech Republic: the ubiquitous corruption.

“It was more than just hints, begging hands were everywhere. It took only a month for me to say: ‘let’s get the hell out of here!’ More and more questions were left unanswered; there were broken arrangements, and peculiar people coming to see me with offers to help ‘deal with problems’ that they had themselves created. We went to Bavaria, to Plattling, and it was an excellent choice. Implementing the project went like a dream, I went through it as a very interesting experience where we encountered no blackmail.”

Subsequently, Tomáš Šabatka became Myllykoski’s Development Manager, and the head of the Plattling division. He sees as very successful the investment so stupidly lost for the Czech Republic, despite the crisis that has heavily affected the paper industry. As a result – among others – of debt arising from the Plattling factory investment, Myllykoski was subsequently taken over by UPM, a larger company under which the Bavarian site is now flourishing.

Translated by Lingvus

Předcházející článek Tomáš Šabatka o papírenském byznysu, korupci, Viktoru Koženém, Zdeňku Bakalovi a Martinu Romanovi

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