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Babiš complains about Czech TV reports on his purchase of bonds

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Prague, Jan 31 (CTK) – Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) is filing a complaint with the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting against the public Czech Television (CT) for its reports about his incomes and purchase of the Agrogert bonds, he told a press conference on Tuesday.

The billionaire Babis said the reports of the 168 hodin and Reporteri CT programmes wanted to harm him and its authors were corrupt.

The Reporteri CT programme “permanently manipulates reports,” he said.

Reporteri CT editor Marek Wollner rejected Babis’s allegation. He told Czech Radio (CT) Babis has the right to complain.

The CT management will demand that Babis either prove his claim or apologise. “If Babis does not prove his allegation, we expect him to apologise to Czech Television and especially to the members of the news report team,” CT spokeswoman Alzbeta Plivova said.

The Echo24 news server wrote that Babis faces a criminal complaint over his purchase of bonds of Agrofert, a giant holding in his possession, worth nearly 1.5 billion crowns four years ago. This bond acquisition generates an annual profit of 90 million crowns for Babis, according to Echo24. Babis has not sufficiently explained how he earned the sum to buy the bonds.

Babis said he had untaxed revenues of 650 million crowns from the sale of companies and shares, and from previous business activities, and therefore he had the sum he needed to buy the bonds. However, media claim that the legal earnings of Babis were 142 million crowns lower that the price of the bonds.

The right-wing opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) called on Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) to deal with the controversies related to the origin of Babis’s property. ODS leader Petr Fiala said a politician whose income has been challenged cannot be finance minister.

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