Central Bohemia Officials to Debate Deletion of Babis’s EU Subsidies January 16ČTK
Prague, Jan 5 (CTK) – The committee of the regional council of the Regional Operation Programme (ROP) in Central Bohemia will discuss the deletion of the Capi hnizdo company from European-subsidised programme on January 16, its head and Central Bohemia Governor Jaroslava Pokorna Jermanova (ANO) told media today.
The police previously accused ANO chairman and current PM Andrej Babis over a suspected EU-subsidy fraud linked to Capi hnizdo, a firm linked with Agrofert, a giant holding Babis owned until last February.
Earlier this week, the Finance Ministry proposed that the relevant authorities delete 44 controversial projects that have been investigated by the EU Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) or have been subject to criminal proceedings from the EU-subsidised programme.
In Central Bohemia, this applies to two projects including Capi hnizdo.
Kamil Munia, who heads the regional council’s office, said the office will seek compensation for possible damage arising in connection with Capi hnizdo.
The deletion of the projects from EU co-financing would mean that they would be handled as projects subsidised by the Czech state.
As they were preliminarily financed from the state budget before their expected coverage by the EU, no change would actually occur in their financing.
Their deletion from the EU-subsidised programmes will enable the Czech Republic to obtain the highest possible sum from the EC to which the respective operational programmes are eligible.
If unlawful acts are proved on the part of the subsidy recipients, the money will be exacted from the subsidy’s provider.
Until late 2007, the Farma Capi hnizdo company, whose previous name was ZZN AGRO Pelhrimov, belonged to Babis’s Agrofert Holding concern. Afterwards, its stake was transferred to bearer shares for a small firm to reach a 50-million-crown EU subsidy, which a firm of the huge Agrofert Holding could never get. It observed this condition for a few years, but later it again returned to Babis’s concern.
Billionaire businessman Babis transferred the Agrofert concern, including some media outlets, to trust funds last February to comply with a new conflict of interest law.