Saturday, 21 April 2018

Okamura: PM Babiš can be released for prosecution

ČTK |
20 December 2017

Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) - There is no reason for Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and ANO deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek not to be released for criminal prosecution, Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) leader Tomio Okamura told journalists on Tuesday.

Okamura said SPD members of the Chamber of Deputies mandate and immunity committee had looked into the police file relating to the EU subsidy fraud that may have occurred in the Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) case, of which Babis and Faltynek are suspected.

They are preparing a report for the rest of the deputy group, but they did not find any alarming or new information in the file, Okamura said.

Okamura reacted to Tuesday's information that the police had turned down a request from the mandate committee that its members should be allowed to look into the file right in the Chamber of Deputies.

"Our deputies have already looked into the file. We have no reason to wait for anyone bringing it to the Chamber of Deputies," Okamura said.

The SPD is represented in the committee by Radek Rozvoral and Miloslav Rozner.

"We have voted for the release [of Babis and Faltynek], I cannot see any reason to vote differently," he added.

The lower house decided to release them for prosecution in its previous term, but since they acquired immunity in the October election, it must decide on the question again.

The committee is to recommend to the Chamber of Deputies whether to release them.

Until 2007, the Farma Capi hnizdo company belonged to Babis's Agrofert Holding. Afterwards, its stake was transferred to bearer shares for a small firm to reach a 50-million-crown EU subsidy, which a firm of the huge Agrofert Holding could never get. It observed this condition for a few years, but later it again returned to Babis's concern.

Billionaire businessman Babis transferred the Agrofert concern, including some media outlets, to trust funds in February to comply with an amended conflict of interest law.

Babis and Faltynek deny any wrongdoing and say their prosecution is politically motivated.

Some parties have denied support for a government headed by Babis arguing that a man facing criminal prosecution cannot be the prime minister.

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