Andrej Babis

Matt Atlas

Police Recommend Charging Babis in Fraud Case

Czech police recommended charging Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and his former adviser Jana Mayerová with fraud after completing an investigation into whether he misused in a case  a 50 million EU subsidy for the construction of the Stork’s Nest farm. The case will now be dealt with by the supervising public prosecutor Jaroslav Šaroch, who can file a charge, but also stop the criminal prosecution or settle the matter otherwise. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also commented on the situation. The Stork’s Nest case is purposeful and his attitude towards it is still the same. Nothing illegal has ever happened, he said in a statement. He believes in the justice of justice.

Mayer, who now uses her maiden name Nagy, said she would not comment on the matter. “I’ll leave it without comment, there’s nothing to say about it,” she said. She has said in the past that she is convinced that the law has not been broken.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš reiterated that he has the Stork’s Nest grant case as purposeful and artificially constructed. His attitude toward her is still the same. Nothing illegal ever happened, he said in response to a police motion to indict him. The prime minister added that he believes in the justice of the justice system.

“It doesn’t surprise me anymore, not even that this thing always appears before the election. It is a completely purposeful and artificially created pseudo-case, which is 14 years old and the investigation lasts five years. And she was stopped once by the public prosecutor. My attitude towards her is still the same. Nothing illegal has ever happened and I reject all nonsensical accusations. At the same time, I still believe that our judicial system is fair and I hope it will show in this matter, “Babiš wrote.

“Today, in a case referred to in the media as the Stork’s Nest case, the file material was submitted together with the police authority’s proposal to file a charge with the supervisory public prosecutor. The submitted file material has a size of over 34 thousand sheets and the public prosecutor will now deal with it so that he can decide whether to file a charge in the case, stop the criminal prosecution or settle the case otherwise, “Cimbala said in a press release.

The spokesman added that the public will be informed about the manner of settling the matter through the media. “During the study of the file material and the processing of the case by the public prosecutor, we will not provide further and more detailed information,” Cimbala added.

The defenders of the two accused, Josef and Michael Bartončík, were acquainted with the police file in the Prague police building last week, after which Josef Bartončík announced that he would suggest further evidence to the police. However, the Criminal Procedure Code states that if the police do not consider it necessary for the lawyers’ proposals to supplement the investigation, they may reject them.

The essence of the case is that the Čapí hnízdo farm originally belonged to Babiš’s holding Agrofert, in December 2007 it was transformed into a joint-stock company with shares into owners and later received a European subsidy in the program for small and medium-sized enterprises. The shares were owned by Babiš’s children and partner. As part of Agrofert, the farm would not be entitled to the subsidy. After a few years, the company returned to Agrofert. Babiš owned the holding until February 2017, then invested it in his trust funds.

Originally, the police accused more people in the case, including members of Babiš’s family and the then ANO vice-chairman Jaroslav Faltýnek. The prosecution of Faltýnka and three other people was canceled by Šaroch in May 2018. The year before, he stopped the prosecution of all the remaining accused, including Babiš, although the police, as now, were proposing the indictment.

In December 2019, after a review, the Attorney General Pavel Zeman resumed the prosecution of Babiš and Mayerová, according to him the proceedings in their case were stopped illegally and prematurely. At the same time, he confirmed that the persecution of Babiš’s loved ones was definitely over. Zeman announced his resignation in mid-May, and his term will expire on June 30.

 In mid-May, the economic daily reported with reference to unnamed sources that the investigator of the Stork’s Nest, Pavel Nevtípil, is currently working with the police and going into civilian life. A spokesman for the Prague police did not confirm this information. “As a rule, the Prague Police informs about personnel matters only in connection with changes in the ranks of top management. It is not for us to comment on the personnel matters of specific police officers or civilian employees, “said Daněk two weeks ago.