Late billionaire Petr Kellner to be awarded highest Czech state decoration

Czech President Miloš Zeman will bestow the Order of the White Lion on Kellner, who tragically died in a helicopter crash last month


Written by ČTK Published on 11.04.2021 15:49:00 (updated on 11.04.2021) Reading time: 1 minute

Czech President Miloš Zeman will bestow the Order of the White Lion on billionaire entrepreneur Petr Kellner, Zeman told Blesk in an interview today. Kellner tragically died in a helicopter crash in Alaska late last month. The order is the Czech Republic's highest state decoration.

"I knew Petr Kellner rather well. And I considered him not only the most successful Czech entrepreneur, but also a man who was good for the Czech Republic," Zeman said.

He said he felt very sorry that he would be awarding Kellner after his death.

Zeman recalled that he also recently bestowed the Order of the White Lion on late Czech singer Karel Gott and former health minister Roman Prymula. He referred to Prymula as "the best epidemiologist who suppressed the first coronavirus wave" in the Czech Republic.

Zeman said he respected Kellner. "I gladly helped him a bit by taking him with me to visit China, and I have never wanted anything from him for this," he told Blesk.

"His influence was in business. His influence in politics is considerably overestimated," Zeman stated.

"He once offered his private plane to me for the visit from China. He did not do anything more for me," Zeman said, adding that he never discussed political ties with Kellner.

Kellner was the founder and majority shareholder of the financial and investment PPF Group.

Kellner and four other people died two weeks ago in a helicopter crash while heliskiing in Alaska. He was 56 years old.

PPF's public relations chief Vladimír Mlynář said on Friday that it was not a technical defect but more likely a coincidence of unfortunate circumstances, weather, and landing conditions behind the crash.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more