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Babiš says effort to prosecute him shows corrupt system’s fear

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Prague, Nov 21 (CTK) – Czech ANO head Andrej Babis is surprised by the doggedness of the police who asked the Chamber of Deputies for his release for prosecution over the Stork Nest case again on Tuesday, he told CTK, adding that this shows the old corrupt system is afraid of him and is trying to eliminate him.

The police’s step show that Stork Nest is a purely political case, but he did expect it, because “the system never sleeps,” Babis said.

He did not comment on whether he would vote for his release again, as he did in the previous election term.

Babis pointed out that the new deputies, elected in the October 20-21 general election, took their oath on Monday only.

“The Chamber has not been constituted yet, nor has been its mandate and immunity committee, and the Chamber’s chairman has not been elected either. As a result, there is no one in the Chamber to take the [police] request over,” Babis said.

Babis, whose ANO comfortably won the October elections and who is forming a minority cabinet, said he wants to lead a government showing that the prime minister can do things properly and for the benefit of people.

The police request is addressed to the lower house chairperson whom the deputies will elect on Wednesday.

Once elected, the chairperson, who will probably be Radek Vondracek (ANO), will submit the request to the house’s mandate and immunity committee, which is to be established earlier on Wednesday.

The committee members will assess the request and recommend whether the Chamber of Deputies should release Babis and Jaroslav Faltynek, ANO deputy head and chairman of the ANO deputies’ group also suspected in the Stork Nest case, for prosecution.

According to the lower house’s order of procedure, the plenum is bound to decide on the issue at its nearest session.

The previous Chamber of Deputies released Babis and Faltynek in early September. Babis then asked the deputies to release him, though he called the case expedient and aimed to influence the October elections. He accused the police of withholding pieces of evidence submitted to them.

He said there was no corruption in the drawing of a 50-million-crown EU subsidy by the Stork Nest (Capi hnizdo) company, former part of the Agrofert Holding he owned.

In the previous Chamber of Deputies, the release of Babis was supported by 123 of 134 deputies present, and Faltynek’s release by 120 of 133 deputies present.

After Babis and Faltynek were re-elected deputies in October, the police had to suspend their prosecution, but they were expected to ask the new lower house to release the two again.

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