“I’m in no conflict of interest, I act strictly by the law,” Babiš told Reuters on Saturday.
“I don’t control or direct the trust funds, because I don’t even have time for it, being fully occupied by the prime ministerial job,” he said, adding that he had not seen the legal opinion.
The document, however, said that even if he were not in a position of control, the situation would still qualify as a conflict of interest “because he has an interest in the economic success” of those companies since he receives economic benefit from their activities.
The legal paper suggested the setting up of a blind trust as a way to end the conflict of interest.
Babiš and his family should “sever all relations” with the two companies, the opinion said. Babiš’ wife is one of the beneficial owners of the trust funds and sits in the board that oversees their management, the EU legal document says.
An Agrofert spokesman said the company had no information about any probe and had not been contacted about the matter.
“Andrej Babiš did everything that the Czech legal system required,” the Agrofert spokesman added.
The European Commission said it was “closely monitoring” the case.
“Whilst it is for the national authorities in the first instance to take the necessary action, the Commission also has a responsibility to protect the financial interests of the Union,” a spokesman said, adding that Brussels had contacted Czech authorities about the matter earlier this week.
Philippe Lamberts, who leads the Greens grouping in the European Parliament, called for an immediate suspension of EU funds to the companies involved.
“The Czech Parliament and Commission cannot stand by and let this situation further denigrate the standing of the Czech government and the EU,” he said in a statement.