Prague, (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and ANO deputy group head Jaroslav Faltynek were given a chance to comment on the Capi hnizdo case of a suspected EU subsidy fraud in the lower house mandate and immunity committee next Tuesday, its head Stanislav Grospic told reporters today.
The committee interrupted a debate on the police request for the release of Babis and Faltynek for criminal prosecution in this case today, Grospic (Communists, KSCM) said.
The procedure approved by a majority of the committee members might influence the Wednesday session of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, to take a vote of confidence in Babis’s minority government.
Some deputies announced they would propose that the session be interrupted. They want to know the committee’s recommendation whether the plenary session should release Babis and Faltynek for prosecution or not before the key vote.
The committee heard today the police investigator of the Capi hnizdo case, Pavel Nevtipil, and state attorney Jaroslav Saroch. None of them wanted to comment on the meeting behind closed doors.
Babis and Faltynek, who asked for postponing the hearing over the report of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) on the Capi hnizdo case, did not come to the committee’s meeting today. The report is part of the investigation files and their defence counsels are yet to get acquainted with it today.
The police seek prosecution of Babis on suspicion of a subsidy fraud and harming the EU financial interests and ANO deputy head Jaroslav Faltynek for assisting in a subsidy fraud in the case of a 50-million-crown EU subsidy for the Farma Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) company.
Another nine people are accused in the case.
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.
The police had to ask the Chamber of Deputies for their release for prosecution again since they were re-elected MPs and regained immunity last October.
Both 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.