Prague, June 5 (CTK) – The deadline for the Imoba firm, from the Czech Agrofert holding formerly owned by PM Andrej Babis, to return the 50-million-crown EU subsidy that went to the Capi hnizdo recreational and conference centre was extended until June 29, the Central Bohemia authorities told CTK today.
The original deadline expired on Monday.
The office of the Regional Operation Programme (ROP) Council in Central Bohemia called on Imoba to return the subsidy on May 4. Imoba asked for the extension of the deadline and the office met its request.
Agrofert spokesman Karel Hanzelka said lawyers of both sides will be negotiating about the issue because it is very difficult from the legal point of view.
If Imoba does not return the subsidy by the set deadline, it may face administration proceedings. If Imoba is ordered in the proceedings to pay the subsidy, it might also have to pay a fine of the same amount.
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, his 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 holding 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.