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Kellner’s foundation dismisses Babiš’ words challenging it

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Prague, Oct 17 (CTK) – The family foundation of the richest Czech, Petr Kellner, and his wife has protested against another billionaire, government ANO head Andrej Babis, telling the Forbes magazine that Kellner runs an elite school to use its best students in his own businesses, which Babis considers no charity.

In the past 15 years, the Kellner couple have distributed over 1.2 billion crowns through their endowments, the Kellner Family Foundation has told CTK.

Only seven former students of the Open Gate secondary school, which Kellner founded in Babice near Prague 12 years ago, worked or work in companies within his PPF group, the foundation said.

In its October issue, Forbes wrote that Babis, with property worth 88 billion crowns, is the second richest Czech, after Kellner (310 billion).

Commenting on Kellner’s investments in education, Babis wondered what these investments of Kellner are like.

Investments “in his own school? He founded a school to use its good students himself. Making one’s own schools, this is something I do not view as charity. How much money has he given to single mothers?” Babis, who was finance minister from January 2014 to May 2017, said.

The Kellner Family Foundation said since 2005, social scholarships have enabled a total of 136 children from incomplete families, 125 students from low-income families, 27 students from children’s homes, 17 students from foster families and three coming from the Endangered Children’s Fund to study at the Open Gate school.

The foundation has spent more than half a billion crowns on their scholarships.

The foundation was established in 2009, its main goal being the support for educational projects for elementary school pupils and teachers, secondary school and university students as well as postgraduates.

It searches for and supports talented children and young people whose living conditions bar their access to quality education. Its scholarships enabled some 150 Czech secondary school leavers to study at Czech and foreign universities in the past eight years, the foundation said.

Babis owned Agrofert, a giant chemical, agricultural, food and media holding, until February when he transferred it to a trust fund in his capacity as finance minister in reaction to a severed conflict of interest law.

His Agrofert Foundation has pursued charity projects, mainly in the form of financial subsidies. According to its annual report, the foundation distributed over 112 million crowns in subsidies in 2016, including 14.4 million through a fund in support of single parents.

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