Commentary Fraud

PM Babiš: There was no fraud or corruption

On Sunday, Czech PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) stated that he believes the State Attorney will halt his prosecution over the Stork´s Nest (Čapí hnízdo) case of a suspected EU subsidy fraud. And it turns out PM Babiš was right.

The Stork's Nest (Čapí hnízdo) farm was for some time owned by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš through one of his companies. Later, he transferred the property ownership to his relatives. The “Stork's Nest” case is based on suspicion of an illegal drawing of an EU subsidy worth 50 million CZK intended exclusively for small or medium-sized enterprises.

The day before the Prosecutor was supposed to announce whether he will follow through with the prosecution, Czech PM Andrej Babiš repeated that there was no fraud. "I hope that the judiciary will decide in my favor because then I will know that there is justice," he said. However, PM Babiš added that if he was charged with fraud, he would not resign as Prime Minister.

“I firmly believe that the Prosecutor will decide in my favor. There was no corruption, there was no fraud, there was no evidence," stated the Prime Minister. "The truth is on my side. And the fact that my family, my wife, my children were involved in the prosecution is unacceptable," he added.

Monday's decision of the Supervisory Public Prosecutor's office confirmed PM Babiš´ belief. According to the daily Deník N, Prosecutor Jaroslav Šaroch suggested halting the prosecution of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The plaintiff also stopped the prosecution of Babiš' family members and co-workers, claims the daily. However, the case is not over yet as The Municipal Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague stated that the Chief Public Prosecutor will now review the decision and will determine whether it is legal and justifiable.

For a long time, Prime Minister Babiš has claimed that the Stork's Nest farm was eligible for the EU subsidy. To express how absurd the situation is, PM Babiš even donated 50 million CZK, the same amount as the concerned EU subsidy, to charity. According to him, the whole case is "totally ridiculous" as everyone should honor the presumption of innocence.

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