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Farmer turns to MPs over conflict with Babiš-linked Agrofert

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Prague, April 9 (CTK) – Czech farmer Bohumir Rada, who has been in dispute with Agrofert, a giant holding formerly owned by PM Andrej Babis, has asked lawmakers for help, complaining about what he called gangster practices of the trust fund of which Agrofert is a part now, including a physical attack on his son.

Agrofert spokesman Karel Hanzelka dismissed Rada’s accusations.

Babis, a billionaire, transferred his property to trust funds in February 2017 in order to avoid a conflict of interest in his then capacity as finance minister. He became prime minister after his ANO’s sweeping victory in the October 2017 general election.

Agrofert recently filed a complaint against Rada over his alleged use of a foreign plot.

“Although we live in parliamentary democracy, I tend not to believe in your help, and I will therefore be forced to apply Wild West methods to protect my property and the health of my son and my family,” Rada wrote in a letter to lawmakers, the text of which he gave to CTK.

Civic Democrat (ODS) deputy Veronika Vrecionova and Pirate deputy Radek Holomcik, who are members of the lower house agriculture committee, told CTK that they received Rada’s letter.

“I want to meet Mr Rada and look into some documents of evidence,” Holomcik said.

Hanzelka said Agrofert considers Rada an untrustworthy person. “If someone speaks of gangster-like practices, it is definitely not us who applies them,” he said.

The documents Rada added to his letter show that he filed a criminal complaint last December. He complains that Agro Jevisovice, a company belonging to Agrofert, has been unrightfully drawing subsidies for agricultural plots. According to Rada, the company has no contract authorising it to use the plots.

The other way round, Agrofert recently filed a complaint against Rada, accusing him of an unrightful use of a foreign plot.

“As far as I know, all criminal complaints Mr Rada has filed against us so far have been shelved by the police as unsubstantiated,” Hanzelka said.

The dispute started in 2011. Before, Rada transformed a small Agrodruzstvo Jevisovice firm into one of the country’s biggest farming companies, Agro Jevisovice. However, in face of insolvency, he sold the firm to Babis.

At present, Rada is the owner and executive of the Agro Boskovstejn firm, against which an insolvency proceeding was initiated by Agro Jevisovice last year.

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