Babis’s Imoba Refuses To Confirm If Capi Hnizdo Subsidies ReturnedČTK
Prague, June 4 (CTK) – Imoba, a firm from the Czech Agrofert holding formerly owned by PM Andrej Babis, did not say today whether it has returned the controversial EU subsidy that went to the Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) recreation and conference centre in 2008, which the authorities wanted it to return by June 4.
Imoba is a successor to the Farma Capi hnizdo firm that received the 50-million-crown subsidy for building the luxurious centre south of Prague.
Babis, prime minister since last December, faces prosecution for suspected fraudulent drawing of the EU subsidy.
One month ago, the office of the Regional Operation Programme (ROP) Council in Central Bohemia asked Imoba to return the subsidy by June 4, otherwise administrative proceedings would be launched against it.
Agrofert spokesman Karel Hanzelka refused to comment on the issue now.
The ROP Council office spokeswoman Klara Fronkova would not comment on whether the subsidy has been returned by Imoba. She said the office will release a press release in this respect later this week.
Apart from Babis, who transferred Agrofert to trust funds in early 2017 to avoid conflict of interest in his then capacity of finance minister, another six people have been prosecuted over the suspected EU subsidy fraud.
The suspects include Babis’s wife, brother-in-law and two adult children.
Babis, leader of the government ANO movement, has dismissed any wrongdoing on his part.
Originally, the police prosecuted eleven people but four of them, including ANO deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek, have succeeded in having their prosecution halted based on their complaints.
The Farma Capi hnizdo company, under its former name ZZN AGRO Pelhrimov, was a part of Babis’s Agrofert chemical, food and agricultural holidng in late 2007, when it changed its status to a joint stock company with bearer shares. In summer 2008, it gained a 50-million-crown EU subsidy within a programme for small and medium-sized companies, which it could never have gained as a part of Agrofert.
After a few years of meeting the subsidy condition, it rejoined Agrofert. At present, the Farma Capi hnizdo company is owned by Imoba.