Andrej Babis

Petr Dubinsky

Prosecutor Calls For Babis To Be Stripped Of Immunity

 The supervising public prosecutor Jaroslav Šaroch will ask the deputy to extradite Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) to prosecute in the Stork’s Nest case only after the inaugural meeting of the new Chamber of Deputies. A spokesman for the Prague City Public Prosecutor’s Office, Aleš Cimbala, told ČTK. Šaroch was originally supposed to decide on the police’s proposal to bring charges until today, but Babiš regained his parliamentary mandate and thus immunity in the parliamentary elections at the beginning of October. His prosecution is now suspended. The current term of office expires on Thursday, with the new members meeting for the first time on November 8.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office is bound in its activities only by the Criminal Procedure Code, for this reason it must now respect the fact that one of the accused persons has regained a parliamentary mandate and associated immunity. No criminal proceedings are currently possible against that person. of this person for further criminal prosecution, the Chamber of Deputies will be asked in connection with its establishment and the establishment of the relevant bodies of the Chamber, “said Cimbala. The request for extradition must be considered by the House Mandate and Immunity Committee.

According to the spokesperson, the setting of a date for a decision to date has not taken into account the course of the elections; according to him, criminal proceedings cannot be subordinated to when the elections are to take place. “Therefore, it was not necessary to predict the election results and possible re-election of the accused. However, now the prosecutor’s office must respond to the current and valid situation, ie obtaining a new mandate, because this is required by the Criminal Procedure Code,” Cimbala explained.

Cimbala added that the city prosecutor’s office has not yet set a new deadline for Šaroch to decide the case, precisely with regard to the need to wait for the Chamber’s decision to request the extradition of Babiš.

According to the constitution, a deputy or senator cannot be prosecuted without the consent of the chamber of which he is a member. The Chamber of Deputies has already extradited Babiš twice, first in September 2017, then in January 2018 in a new composition after the parliamentary elections, in which Babiš was re-elected. Babiš also defended his mandate in the elections at the beginning of October, so his prosecution is now suspended again.

In addition to Babiš, his former adviser Jana Nagyová (formerly Mayerová) is also accused of a case of a 50 million subsidy for the construction of the Čapí hnízdo recreational and conference complex. The police are prosecuting them for damaging the financial interests of the European Union and for subsidy fraud. Both have long denied guilt.

Police originally ended the investigation into the case at the end of May, and suggested that Babiš and Nagy be indicted. At the end of August, Saroch decided to return the case to them for further investigation. He also did so mainly to ensure that investigators supplement the interrogation of witnesses, including the prime minister’s son Andrej Babiš Jr. In September, the High Prosecutor’s Office, which supervises the matter, stated after the investigation that Šaroch had made a mistake in not responding immediately to new information, thus creating delays in criminal proceedings.

Cimbala said today that Šaroch reacted to the information that appeared in the public space. “It should also be added that if witnesses communicate essential information through the public media, not through law enforcement agencies, it is not in the power of one person, the supervisory prosecutor, to process this information verbatim,” Cimbala said.

The spokesman added that the city prosecutor’s office took measures to prevent the identified deficiencies, and also carried out its own internal supervision. According to Cimbala, the head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Martin Erazím, came to the conclusion that internal supervision, shortening deadlines and the continuous request for information on the procedure of the supervisory public prosecutor would be sufficient to prevent shortcomings. “He did not come to the conclusion that it would be appropriate to proceed to the inference of disciplinary liability or the imposition of a reproach to the supervisory public prosecutor in the current situation,” Cimbala added.

Police again proposed to indict both defendants on September 20. Server Message Liston Tuesday, he stated that Šaroch had ordered a forensic expert to verify whether the contract for the purchase of shares in Farma Čapí hnízdo had forged the signature of Babiš Jr. According to the website, Babiš Jr. questioned during the September interrogation that his signature on the contract for the acquisition of four shares of the Stork’s Nest Farm is authentic. According to the prime minister’s lawyer, the deadline for preparing the report was set for the beginning of November.

Cimbala confirmed today that one of the pieces of evidence that came from the supplementary evidence was considered by Šaroch to be sufficient in the further assessment of the case, but within the framework of internal supervision he was ordered to supplement the evidence with an expert assessment. “The expert opinion was submitted on October 5, 2021, and its conclusions may be used in a new application for extradition addressed to the Chamber of Deputies,” said Cimbala. He did not publish the details of the submitted report.

The essence of the case is that the Stork’s Nest originally belonged to Babiš’s holding company Agrofert, but in December 2007 it was transformed into a joint stock company with shares and later received a 50 million European subsidy in the program for small and medium enterprises, to which it would not be entitled as part of Agrofert. The shares were allegedly owned by Babiš’s children and partner. The company returned to Agrofert after a few years. In 2017, Babiš holding invested in its trust funds.