Monday, 15 October 2018

FAU wins freezing order dispute with financial authority

ČTK |
1 December 2017

Prague, Nov 30 (CTK) - The Czech FAU company has won its dispute with the Financial Administration (FS) that froze its property as the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) rejected the FS's complaint and upheld the previous verdict cancelling the freezing orders on Thursday, the court says on its website.

A regional court cancelled in September the orders freezing the property of the FAU fuel-trading company worth about 340 million crowns.

FAU, which went bankrupt after the freezing orders were issued, had a warehouse located in the complex belonging to the Precheza company, a part of the giant chemical, agricultural and food processing Agrofert holding owned by ANO leader and next PM Andrej Babis, former finance minister. He later transferred the holding to a trust fund to meet a conflict of interest law.

The FS clerks basically claimed VAT for one business deal twice. According to the iHNED.cz server, they demanded that the firm as a guarantor pay first 200 million crowns and on the same day, they demanded 218 million, through further orders.

The regional court called the freezing orders unlawful in this case. The NSS confirmed this.

A freezing order should be a step taken only in the most extreme cases, the regional court's judge said.

"The Supreme Administrative Court confirmed Thursday that the property distraint was at variance with law," iHNED.cz cites FAU's defence lawyer as saying.

"This has opened the path to compensations for the damage. At the time when the distraint was launched, the value of the firm exceeded one billion crowns," he added.

An audio recording appeared on Twitter in August with Babis speaking of a crackdown on FAU. The media speculated that the Financial Administration had tried to liquidate FAU on purpose at Babis's request.

Billionaire businessman Babis said he had neither tasked nor misused the tax or customs authorities as finance minister before leaving the post in May 2017.

The FS claims is is working independently on the basis of its own analytical work and not based on any "political assignment."

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