Czech media publishes details of EU report accusing Babiš of conflict of interest

Details of a 71-page European Commission preliminary report relating to the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, have been published by a number of Czech media outlets. The audit states that, having “appointed all their actors”, Mr. Babiš has “a decisive influence” over two trust funds via which he controls the Agrofert group. This means the Czech PM is in conflict of interest, a charge he strenuously denies.

Mr. Babiš placed Agrofert, a major agriculture, food and chemicals business, in a trust fund two years ago.

The European Commission says that all EU subsidies received by Agrofert since February 2017, when a conflict of interest law entered the Czech statute books, should be returned. It put the figure that the Czech state should seek back from Agrofert at CZK 450 million.

The Czech minister of finance, Alena Schillerová of Mr. Babiš’s ANO party, said on Friday evening that the Czech state would be demanding the return of the money if it were proven to have been wrongfully acquired.

In a separate matter, the police have recommended that Mr. Babiš face criminal charges of abusing CZK 50 million in EU subsidies in connection with a hotel and conference centre near Prague.

A rally against Mr. Babiš in central Prague had already been planned for next Tuesday evening prior to Friday’s news about the European Commission report.

Author: Ian Willoughby