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FinMin files complaint over recorded conversations on web

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Prague, May 4 (CTK) – Czech Finance Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babis has filed a criminal complaint over recordings of his conversations posted on the web, he told CTK on Thursday, and added, for Blesk.cz, that he has a feeling of being shadowed and bugged for many years, which he considers scandalous.

“I consider it scandalous that the first deputy prime minister and a deputy head of the National Security Council (BRS) has been bugged,” Babis, who holds the two posts, told Blesk.

In the past, a meeting of the BRS body was always convoked in reaction to similar affairs, he said.

It ensued from his words that Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) is not considering convoking the BRS in this case.

On the recordings whose authenticity he has not challenged, Babis speaks about articles prepared by the media he owned at the time.

His partner in the debate, a reporter from the Mafra group issuing national dailies Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) and Lidove noviny (LN), says in the recorded debate that he had already prepared materials about Health Minister Miloslav Ludvik and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (both CSSD). The conversation further focuses on whether the newspaper should wait with publishing the articles until after the October general election.

Mafra on Wednesday said it considers the recording dubious but still it has decided to dismiss the reporter involved.

Mafra is a part of the giant Agrofert Holding that Babis owned until February, when he transferred it to trustee funds in compliance with a new conflict of interest law.

Babis has long been dismissing any influencing of articles in the media he owned.

Sobotka says the recordings prove that Babis told lies in this respect.

Babis on Thursday repeated that he never heard the recordings, which he considers a part of the campaign his opponents lead against him.

“I will not comment on the recordings. It is unbelievable that someone has been shadowing and bugging me,” he said.

The Neovlivni.cz server wrote yesterday that the recordings were made in a sports hall in Pruhonice, southeast of Prague, where Babis likes to stage a large number of his working meetings except for his ministerial agenda.

The police in charge of protecting Babis are suspected of having recorded his conversations, Neovlivni.cz writes.

In recent days, another recording, with Babis calling other government parties’ leaders, his own employees and journalists vulgar names, appeared on social networks.

On the recordings, he comments on Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and Labour Minister Michaela Marksova (both CSSD), and calls Sobotka “the worst bastard I have ever met” and an “idiot.”

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