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The victory of the populist Robert Fico in the recent Slovak elections was not exactly met with applause on the domestic political scene, especially in the government camp.
However, Fico’s family has a stronger background in the Czech Republic than it might seem at first glance, in terms of politics and business. Fic’s 29-year-old son Michal works for the Czech energy company ČEZ, in which the state, through the Ministry of Finance, holds a 70% stake. He does not hold an insignificant position, he is a strategic manager of the company.
“Michal Fico has been working for us since 2018, i.e. for over five years. Originally as a specialist, now as a manager of the strategy department with a focus on retail,” ČEZ spokesman Ladislav Kříž told Seznam Zprávám.
According to the professional social network LinkedIn, Fico Jr. joined ČEZ in June 2018. That was three months after his father could not stand the escalating situation following the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee, and Fico’s government fell. He was succeeded by Peter Pellegrini, with whom Fico’s Smér party is now negotiating the formation of a new government.
Within CEZ, Fico has no subordinates. According to LinkedIn, before joining the Czech company, he worked for nine months at the consulting company EY, before that he gathered experience for several months during a summer internship in London. He gradually worked his way up to a managerial position at ČEZ.
“Mr. Fico joined ČEZ thanks to his experience in international consulting companies and has fully proven himself at ČEZ,” described the company’s spokesperson Kříž.
ČEZ also operates on the Slovak market through the company ESCO Slovensko, which is a joint venture between ČEZ ESCO and the Slovak Gas Industry. Its task is to modernize the energy industry in Slovakia.
Award from Zeman
Ex-prime minister and probably soon again the head of the Slovak government (this would happen for the fourth time already) Robert Fico had political allies in the Czech Republic, especially in the last election period – both at the government and castle level.
Before the recent Slovak elections, he was supported by both ex-prime minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and former president Miloš Zeman, who awarded Fico the Order of the White Lion in 2014 – for particularly outstanding services to the benefit of the Czech Republic. During his tenure at the Castle, Zeman also maintained good relations with ČEZ CEO Daniel Beneš.
When asked whether Fico junior’s entry into ČEZ had any political connotations, ČEZ stated that he got the job at the company based on his work experience.
Seznam Zprava also asked Michal Fico directly about the circumstances of his joining, but he did not respond to e-mail questions.
Michal Fico aroused the interest of the Slovak media last year after the newspaper Sme discovered that he had bought a luxury apartment in Bratislava without a mortgage. “Former prime minister and leader of the Direction party, Robert Fico, should explain where his young son got the money to buy an apartment in such a luxurious neighborhood without a mortgage,” appealed Zuzana Petková, head of the Stop corruption Foundation, last January.