Prague, Dec 20 (CTK) – The Czech lower house mandate and immunity committee will invite PM and ANO chairman Andrej Babis and ANO deputy head Jaroslav Faltynek to its meeting on January 9 to explain the circumstances of their EU subsidy fraud case, committee head Stanislav Grospic (Communists, KSCM) said today.
Besides, the committee will hear the investigators and the state attorney in charge of the case.
Babis and Faltynek are suspected of an EU subsidy fraud for the Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) farm. Babis also faces charges of harming EU financial interests.
The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, released them for prosecution early in September. However, their prosecution was interrupted as both were re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies and regained lawmakers’ immunity. The police had to ask the lower house for their release for prosecution again.
The mandate and immunity committee will hear Babis and Faltynek a day before the Chamber of Deputies deals with a request for confidence in Babis’s ANO minority government.
It is not sure whether the committee will reach a conclusion at its meeting and recommend to the Chamber plenary session to release Babis and Faltynek for prosecution or not.
Another nine people are charged in the Capi hnizdo case, including Babis’s wife Monika.
Until 2007, the Farma Capi hnizdo company 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 in February to comply with an amended conflict of interest law.
Babis and Faltynek deny any wrongdoing and say their prosecution is politically motivated.
Some parties have denied support for a government headed by Babis arguing that a prosecuted man cannot be the prime minister.