Friday, 22 June 2018

PM: Slovak court ruling on StB not to affect gov't talks

ČTK |
15 February 2018

Prague, Feb 14 (CTK) - Czech Prime Minister in resignation Andrej Babis (ANO) does not expect the Slovak court's verdict on his registration in the files of the Communist secret police (StB) as its agent to complicate talks on the formation of his second government, he said after the cabinet' meeting on Wednesday.

He reiterated that he would defend himself against the registration in the StB file by legal means.

"This is no issue to me. I do not consider this a complication," Babis said.

Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy chairman Jan Hamacek said on Tuesday that the Slovak court's verdict on Babis might influence the decision-making of the delegates to the CSSD's election congress due on February 18 on a possible government cooperation with Babis's ANO movement.

Communist (KSCM) deputy chairman Jiri Dolejs said in this connection that Babis's trustworthiness was a problem.

Unlike most other parties in parliament, the Social Democrats and Communists have not ruled out cooperation with ANO yet.

Slovak-born billionaire Babis's ANO movement, which was part of the Czech government from 2014, smoothly won the last October general election. Babis's ANO minority government lost a confidence vote in parliament in January and has been ruling in resignation since. President Milos Zeman has assigned Babis to launch new government-forming talks.

The Regional Court in Bratislava has turned down Babis's lawsuit, in which he claimed he was registered as an StB agent unrightfully.

"I won the court dispute and I will won it again since I never cooperated (with StB), I signed nothing, there is no evidence," Babis said.

He also said he planned to prepare a new lawsuit, this time against the Slovak Interior Ministry or the Slovak state instead of the Slovak Nation's Memory Institute (UPN).

The regional court dealt with the case again after the Slovak Constitutional Court (US) last year cancelled the definitive verdicts of the regional and the supreme courts, which previously ruled in favour of Babis in his dispute with the UPN. The institute is in charge of the StB archives.

The Bratislava court' judges must respect the US ruling as binding.

The US ruled that the UPN should not be the defendant in the disputes over the registration in the StB archives.

It also ruled that the previous court verdicts were wrongly based on the testimonies of former StB officers who had not been released from the obligation to maintain confidentiality before giving testimony. The US also questioned their trustworthiness.

These witnesses testified in favour of Babis and their testimonies were crucial in the original proceedings.

It ensues from the UPN archives that in 1980, Babis became an StB informer and two years later, he was recruited by the StB as an agent with the code name Bures. Babis was allegedly won over by StB lieutenant Julius Suman. However, Suman said at the Bratislava district court that Babis had not been recruited for the StB.

Babis has long denied witting cooperation with the StB. He says he came in contact with StB officers during the Communist regime when he worked for the Petrimex Czechoslovak foreign trade company and that they were only interested in Petrimex's trade activities.

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