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Czech News in English » News » Czech Republic and the EU » ČSSD: ANO leader Babiš must explain EU subsidies scandal

ČSSD: ANO leader Babiš must explain EU subsidies scandal

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Prague, March 12 (CTK) – Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) will support the calling of a Chamber of Deputies special session on the scandal with the EU subsidies to the Farma Capi hnizdo centre if Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) does not it explain it soon, CSSD deputy Jan Chvojka said last night.
Farma Capi hnizdo (Stork’s Nest Farm) is owned by food and media mogul Babis, leader of ANO.
“If Babis does not explain the affairs around the Capi hnizdo by, let us say, Tuesday, we will back the session,” Chvojka, deputy chairman of the CSSD group in the Chamber of Deputies, told Czech Television.
The right-wing opposition parties, TOP 09 and the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), said they wanted to call the special session over the scandal on Friday.
Babis has said these efforts by the opposition parties show that since they are unable to come up with their own programme, they at least criticise him.
The luxurious building of the Capi hnizdo conference centre in central Bohemia, now owned by Babis’s Agrofert, gained 50 million crowns from European funds.
According to the media, Capi hnizdo belonged to Agrofert until 2008. Afterwards, the shares were transferred to bearer shares for the small firm to reach to EU subsidies of some 50 million crowns. It observed this condition for a few years, but later it again returned to Babis’s concern.
Because of a mistake in drawing subsidies in 2009, Capi hnizdo was fined 3.6 million crowns, which climbed up to six million with penalties included. In 2012, a big part of the fine was forgiven and the firm only paid 37,000 crowns plus the corresponding penalty.
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) launched the official investigation into the circumstances under which Agrofert gained the EU subsidy of 50 million crowns for the construction of the Stork’s Nest last year.
Babis has denied any wrongdoing, arguing that at the time the application for the subsidy was raised, Agrofert did not own the center.
($1 = 24.398 crowns)

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