Saturday, 18 November 2017

Opposition wants Babiš to resign over scandalous recording

ČTK |
9 May 2017

Prague, May 8 (CTK) - Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) should apologise for lying and he should resign, opposition parties said today in reaction to the emergence of another audio recording with Babis discussing the content of planned media articles with a journalist.

In the recording, available on the Internet, Babis and a reporter of Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD), a daily Babis owned until recently, discuss a planned publishing of articles aimed against Babis's political rivals.

Another similar recording appeared on the Internet last week. On Friday, PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) proposed to President Milos Zeman to sack Babis over his dubious business deals and suspected influencing of media.

In the latest recording, the journalist offers Babis to release information from an ongoing police investigation and the two discuss the timing of the info leak.

In reaction to it, Sobotka tweeted today that "Babis, with his methods, is sinking politics deep in cesspool."

"Did he immediately report everything to the police at the time?" Sobotka asked.

Earlier today, Babis said he has become a victim of targeted provocation. Before, he indicated that Interior Minister Milan Chovanec's (CSSD) people might have been behind it.

Chovanec told journalists today that the most serious thing about the latest recording is the [protagonists'] suspected interference in open criminal cases.

"It is necessary for the police and law enforcement bodies to start checking whether this is true. If it turned out to be true, I would consider it a big problem," Chovanec said.

Opposition Civic Democrat (ODS) deputy chairman Martin Kupka called Babis's behaviour as indicated by the audio unacceptable.

Now that another such controversial recording has emerged, Babis should immediately step down, completely leave Czech politics and apologise to all citizens for telling lies and cheating them, Kupka wrote in a press release.

He said he expects ANO ministers to condemn the conduct of Babis, the chairman of ANO, otherwise they would accept responsibility for his practices.

Opposition TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek said Babis should have turned to the police after receiving discrediting materials from a police file dealing with an open criminal case from a journalist.

TOP 09 MEP Jiri Pospisil, a former justice minister, told CTK that Babis might have committed a crime if he dealt with information from a file concerning a criminal case under investigation.

"The suspicion raised by the latest recording should not only be explained by Babis himself, but it should also be thoroughly checked by the police," Pospisil added.

rtj/dr

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