Sunday, 19 November 2017

Babiš regains MP's immunity, attorney to suspend his prosecution

ČTK |
24 October 2017

Prague, Oct 23 (CTK) - The prosecution of ANO leader Andrej Babis will have to be suspended because he defended his seat in Czech parliament this weekend and the state attorney must ask MPs for his release for prosecution again, Prague Municipal Attorney's Office spokeswoman Stepanka Zenklova told CTK on Monday.

This applies to ANO deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek as well, she said.

The ANO movement clearly won the general election, winning 78 seats in the 200-member lower house of parliament.

The Chamber of Deputies released Babis and Faltynek for criminal prosecution at the police request in early September. The two politicians are suspected of a subsidy fraud, and Babis also of harming the EU's financial interests.

Babis is suspected of formally excluding his Farma Capi Hnizdo (Stork Nest Farm) company from the giant Agrofert holding, of which he was the sole owner, in order to win a EU subsidy worth 50 million crowns, and then making the company part of Agrofert again. Earlier this year, Babis, then occupying the post of deputy prime minister, was forced to transfer Agrofert to trust funds to avoid a conflict of interests.

The police have accused 11 people within the Stork Nest case.

Babis confirmed on Monday that his wife Monika Babisova was among the accused. He again said the case was a fabrication full of lies that aims to harm him. "My wife has been accused. She is prosecuted because she sold shares to her brother," Babis said.

Both Babis and Faltynek pleaded innocent. They jointly said other parties used the case against them in the election campaign.

Babis said on Monday Faltynek definitely will not be in the new government. ANO wants Faltynek to be the head of the party's group in the Chamber of Deputies again, Babis added.

Zenklova said all 11 suspects complained about the criminal prosecution and a state attorney is going to decide on it. She said the prosecution of nine people would continue, though that of Babis and Faltynek would be suspended.

The prosecution of the two will be suspended after the election results are officially confirmed, which is likely to be on Tuesday.

Zenklova did not say whether the police would again ask the lower house to strip Babis and Faltynek of their immunity.

According to the E15 news server, all parties except for ANO and the Communists (KSCM) said their MPs would release Babis for prosecution again.

Nearly all parties that entered the new parliament declared that they would not join a government headed a prosecuted politician. Babis insists on occupying the post of prime minister.

Daily Pravo previously wrote that the accused in the Stork Nest case include Babis's wife, his adult son and daughter, his son-in-law and members of ZZN Pelhrimov firm's board that owned Farma Capi Hnizdo in the past. The alleged fraud occurred about ten years ago.

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