PM Babis Asserts Fraud Charges Result of Political ConspiracyČTK
Prague, Jan 14 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) considers the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) report on a suspected EU subsidy fraud related to him biased and the whole Capi hnizdo case turned into a political issue in both Prague and Brussels, he told Prima TV today.
Babis repeatedly said he did not commit any crime. The case was fabricated in order to harm him, his family and his ANO movement, he insisted.
He said the whole case was fabricated by Czech MEP Tomas Zdechovsky (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL).
Babis said his opponents abuse the case to remove him from top politics.
The ANO movement clearly won the Czech general election last October and President Milos Zeman appointed Babis prime minister one month ago. Babis said he preferred a minority cabinet without partners, but no other party has been ready to support his rule so far. The lower house of parliament is to take a confidence vote in Babis’s government next week. Zeman expressed support for Babis.
Babis said the Czech Republic may end up in a situation similar to Poland if his opponents succeed in their effort to remove him from the post of prime minister.
“Brabec would be prime minister and I would play the Kaczynski role,” Babis said, adding he dislikes such a solution.
The Polish government of Law and Justice (PiS) is controlled by former prime minister and party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski from the backstage. Richard Brabec (ANO) is Czech first deputy prime minister.
The lower house mandate and immunity committee is to deal with the Czech police request for the release of Babis for criminal prosecution over the Capi hnizdo case on Tuesday. Babis announced he would announce a press conference on the case on Tuesday morning.
Until late 2007, the Farma Capi hnizdo company belonged to Babis’s Agrofert concern. Afterwards, its stake was transferred to bearer shares for a small firm to win the subsidy, which a firm of the huge Agrofert could never get. It observed this condition for a few years, but later it became part of Agrofert again. Moreover, the investigators concluded that there was no economic or trade reason to make the change.
In February 2017, billionaire businessman Babis transferred Agrofert to trust funds to comply with a new conflict of interest law.
Babis denies any wrongdoing. Another nine people are accused in the Capi hnizdo case, including his wife.
The OLAF writes in conclusion that the Czech and EU laws were violated in the case and that the European Commission has the right to deny financial support for the Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) farm and conference centre, previously owned by Babis’s concern.