Andrej Babis

Petr Dubinsky

Prosecutor Seeks To Strip Babis Of Immunity

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jaroslav Šaroch sent a request to the Chamber of Deputies for the extradition of the outgoing Prime Minister and re-elected MP Andrej Babiš (ANO) for criminal prosecution in the Stork’s Nest case. This was stated today by the spokesman of the Prague City Public Prosecutor’s Office, Aleš Cimbala. Babiš’s prosecution was interrupted because in the parliamentary elections at the beginning of October he regained his parliamentary mandate, and thus his immunity. The new Chamber of Deputies will now have to decide on its extradition again. Babiš declined to comment on the request today, saying the prosecution was political and commissioned.

“On November 9, 2021, a request was sent to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic from the Municipal Public Prosecutor’s Office in Prague to prosecute the deputy in a matter in the media known as the Stork’s Nest case,” Cimbala said. The request for extradition must be considered by the House Mandate and Immunity Committee. On Monday, MEPs decided that the committee would have 16 members. Today, Helena Válková (ANO) elected former Minister of Justice unanimously as chair of the committee.

According to the constitution, a deputy or senator cannot be prosecuted without the consent of the chamber of which he or she is a member. The Chamber of Deputies has already extradited Babiš twice in the past, first in September 2017, then in January 2018 in a new composition after the parliamentary elections, in which Babiš was re-elected.

In addition to Babiš, his former consultant 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 European Union’s financial interests and grant fraud. Both have long denied guilt.

Babiš said today that he would not comment on the prosecutor’s request. “It is a prosecution on order. The prosecutor stopped the prosecution, but the top prosecutor Pavel Zeman, who was a long-term part of the post-November cartel, let me continue to prosecute for political reasons,” Babiš told a news conference after today’s government meeting. He declined to comment more, saying that he had spoken to her many times.

The 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, Sharoch decided to return the case to them for further investigation. He did so mainly so that the investigators could supplement the interrogation of witnesses, including the prime minister’s son Andrej Babiš Jr.

Police again charged the two defendants with charges on September 20. The Seznam Zprávy server subsequently 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 Babiš Jr. website, during the September interrogation, he questioned that his signing of the contract for the acquisition of four shares of the Stork’s Nest Farm was authentic.

The deadline for the expert report was originally set for early November, but was extended, according to Cimbala. “The deadline for the preparation of the expert opinion was extended due to objective obstacles for which it was not possible to prepare the expert opinion within the set deadline,” the spokesman said. According to the List of Reports, the expert requested several other written materials from Babiš Jr. to compare the signatures. According to the server, the report will probably not be completed until the end of November.

In the Stork’s Nest case, 11 people were originally charged, including members of Babiš’s family. Sharoch gradually stopped prosecuting all the accused. However, in December 2019, former Attorney General Pavel Zeman resumed the prosecution of Babiš and Nagy after a review. At the same time, he confirmed that the persecution of Babiš’s loved ones was definitely over.