Monday, 18 June 2018

Local office is to deal with Babiš's property statement

7 April 2017

Prague, April 6 (CTK) - Local authorities should deal with the discrepancies in Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis's (ANO) property statement, the mandate and immunity committee of the Chamber of Deputies concluded on Thursday, the committee's deputy chairman Martin Plisek (opposition TOP 09) told journalists.

He said the committee decided to hand the case to the authorities at the place of Babis's permanent residence that would deal with the case in administrative proceedings. Based on the law on the conflict of interest, the authorities may impose a fine of up to 50,000 crowns on Babis.

The committee discussed discrepancies between Babis's property statement and the data Babis recently released in an income audit.

Babis, a billionaire and the second richest person in the country, said there were no discrepancies. The differences were caused by the substance and different purposes of both documents, he said.

In a letter he posted on Twitter yesterday, Babis said the audit also included data from tax returns.

Committee member Roman Prochazka (ANO) told journalists that he considers the discrepancies a petty administration error and a waste of time.

Before the meeting of the mandate and immunity committee, controlling committee head Vladimir Konicek (Communists, KSCM) called on it to look into the different data in the documents.

In reaction, Babis said Konicek abused the case to score political points. He said he provided explanation of his incomes.

Babis is criticised for the purchase of one-crown bonds issued by the Agrofert concern, which he owned until February, for 1.5 billion crowns in 2013. The lower house budget committee expressed a suspicion that law was circumvented by issuing these bonds, which were not subject to tax, in 2012. Babis repeatedly dismissed any wrongdoing.

In February, Babis transferred Agrofert to a trustee fund to comply with the amended conflict of interest law that bars firms controlled by ministers from access to public contracts, state subsidies and incentives.

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