Andrej Babiš claims innocence in closing speech in court

The former prime minister and presidential candidate Andrej Babiš, who is being tried on charges of EU fraud delivered his closing speech in Prague’s Municipal Court on Friday. Mr. Babiš said he had done nothing illegal and would not be standing trial today, had he not entered politics.

The judge is expected to deliver a verdict in the case relating to a CZK 50 million subsidy for the construction of the Stork’s Nest Centre on Monday. The chief prosecutor has proposed a three year suspended sentence and a fine of 10 million crowns.

Mr. Babiš is suspected of manipulating ownership rights for the Stork’s Nest company, which was part of his multi billion crown empire, so that it could meet EU grant conditions for a small and medium-sized business. The trial follows a seven-year investigation and is at the centre of media attention in view of the fact that Mr. Babiš is one of the hot candidates in the presidential race.