Monday, 10 December 2018

Babiš seeks review of court verdict on his being StB agent

ČTK |
8 March 2018

Bratislava, March 7 (CTK) - Czech PM Andrej Babis (ANO) has filed a petition for appellate review of the Slovak court's verdict rejecting his legal complaint against being registered as a former communist secret police (StB) agent with the Bratislava Supreme Court, Slovak media reported on Wednesday.

They referred to a statements by the agner & partners legal office representing Slovak-born Babis in his dispute with the Slovak Nation's Memory Institute (UPN).

The Regional Court in Bratislava rejected Babis's lawsuit challenging as unrightful his registration as an StB agent in the StB files in February.

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

The US ruled that the UPN should not be the defendant in the disputes over the registration in the StB archives, which was a breakthrough verdict.

According to Babis's lawyers, the Slovak Supreme Court has a different view than the US on whether the UPN can be the defendant in such disputes.

"In its long term practice, the Supreme Court has stipulated that the lawsuits in cases of personality protection from an unrightful registration in the StB files are to be filed against the UPN," the agner & partners office said.

Babis said after the regional court's verdict that he would file another lawsuit, this time against the Slovak Interior Ministry or the state. The US did no specify in its verdict who the defendant should be.

The Supreme Court dealt with the Babis case once when it rejected the petition for appellate review that the UPN filed in 2015. The US cancelled this verdict as well.

Moreover, the US stated that in the Babis case, Slovak courts wrongly based their verdicts on the testimony of former StB officers who had not been relieved of their duty of confidentiality. The US also challenged the trustworthiness of these witnesses. They testified in favour of Babis and their testimonies were crucial in the original proceedings.

The US also said the Supreme Court's steps asking for the Interior Ministry additional consent to the release of these witnesses from secrecy were wrong.

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.

Billionaire Babis's ANO movement, which was part of the previous Czech government in 2014-2017, smoothly won the last October general election. Babis's ANO minority government lost a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies in January and resigned, but it continues ruling pending the establishment of Babis's new cabinet.

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