Finance Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) today dismissed having received a police file on an open criminal case from journalist Marek Přibil, as was indicated in an audio recording posted on the Internet on Monday, and he dismissed accusations of crime in this connection.
Prague, May 9 (CTK) – Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) today dismissed having received a police file on an open criminal case from journalist Marek Pribil, as was indicated in an audio recording posted on the Internet on Monday, and he dismissed accusations of crime in this connection.
At a press conference, Babis repeated that the recording, as well as previous similar two that show him speaking with Pribil, have been a campaign prepared by his political opponents.
He resolutely dismissed having committed a crime.
“Our coalition partners have gone as far as to speak about a criminal offence [on my part],” Babis said in an allusion to PM Bohuslav Sobotka’s Social Democrats (CSSD).
“I have never received any file concerning a criminal case under investigation. I resolutely deny this, it is an outrage, a scandal,” Babis said.
He reacted to the content of the latest recording, in which he speaks with Pribil, a reporter of Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD), which is a daily Babis owned until recently. Pribil gives Babis documents which, he says, originate from the police investigation of the Beretta case of a suspected leak of information from a criminal file.
Commenting on the controversial recording on Monday, PM Sobotka said it is a duty of any citizen to turn to the police if they were given a police file on an open criminal case.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD) said today that the question is whether Babis and Pribil violated law, since it was their duty to report the crime of an open case’s leak.
Babis repeated today that his political rivals have been conducting an extensive campaign against him with the aim to oust him from politics.
He said it is suspicious that the recordings aimed to discredit him have appeared now that Sobotka wants to have him sacked as finance minister over suspected of tax evasion.
Nonetheless, Babis admitted that he has no evidence to prove his allegation.
Sobotka’s Friday proposal to President Milos Zeman to sack Babis, which Zeman has refused to do for the time being, has escalated a crisis in the government comprised of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).