|The Coalition has launched a series of rallies at the bank's headquarters, its popular New York City branch and at the offices of Berkshire Hathaway to protest M&T Bank's role as security agent for a housing fund which has left Czech coal miners homeless|
NEW YORK, Aug 1, 2018 - (ACN Newswire) - The Coalition to Protect OKD Miners ("the Coalition"), an organization created to advocate on behalf of Czech coal miners, has put M&T Bank and its subsidiary Wilmington Trust on notice with protests conducted at M&T Bank's Headquarters in Buffalo, NY; M&T Bank's popular branch located at 11 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036. Meanwhile, rallies took place outside of Berkshire Hathaway's offices in Omaha, NE as demonstrators wore superman outfits asking Buffett, its Founder and CEO to be a superhero and "save the miners from homelessness". Berkshire Hathaway holds approximately 3.62 percent of outstanding shares of M&T Bank based on the end of year 2017 reporting period and has owned the stock in some form since 1991.
M&T Bank, through its subsidiary Wilmington Trust, acts as security agent for Fondy Bydleni, a Luxembourg-based housing fund which owns the Czech property firm RESIDOMO. RESIDOMO and Fondy Bydleni have refused to honor a contractual agreement to provide discounted housing units to Czech coal miners in the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic. The contract in question was originally made between KARBON Invest and the Czech government as part of KARBON Invest's bid to privatize the originally state-owned coal company, OKD. Specifically, the deal stated explicitly that the housing units of OKD Miners were to be preserved as reduced cost units. Working with KARBON Invest, Bakala subsequently obtained control of OKD using New World Resources N.V ("NWR), an international energy firm which he also controlled at the time. As a result, OKD thus became a subsidiary of NWR and the housing units became controlled by Bakala.
After allegedly plundering OKD by taking excessive profits for himself, Bakala sold the housing units to Fondy Bydleni by selling them 100% of RESIDOMO. Fondy Bydleni is backed primarily by Blackstone and by Round Hill Capital. Blackstone and Round Hill have thus far refused to honor the terms of the 2004 contract.
This entire matter is the subject of intense litigation as well as criminal investigation by authorities in the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Poland and the EU. In the Czech Republic, the special investigation committee of the Czech Parliament is investigating the issue directly.
The coalition believes that M&T Bank, as the security agent, has the power to compel Fondy Bydleni to act through RESIDOMO to honor the terms of the 2004 contract. Moreover, the coalition believes that Warren Buffett, as a long-time shareholder of M&T Bank, can use his influence with management and his equity to make the bank act as a constructive player in this situation.
The Coalition, through this protest and future events, plans to make its case to all relevant entities to immediately resolve the housing crisis. The coalition has set up a website at www.StopBakala.org to communicate in greater depth regarding its activities.
The coalition issued the following statement:
"Warren Buffett, M&T Bank, Blackstone, RESIDOMO, and Round Hill Capital all have the ability to come together and figure out a mutually beneficial solution to the Ostrava housing crisis. We demand that the housing fund honors contractual arrangements already in place for the housing unit and comply with their legal obligations as well as their moral obligations. M&T Bank and Warren Buffett truly are ethical actors as they claim to be, they will bring all the stakeholders together expeditiously and figure out a solution where legal and ethical obligations are honored."
Coalition to Protect OKD Miners
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Aug 1, 2018 14:00 HKT/SGT
Topic: Press release summary
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