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Andrej Babiš to be given police protection

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Prague, Dec 21 (CTK) – Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) will have police protection, the government decided yesterday and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) told CTK.
Babis has asked for police protection since he has repeatedly faced threats.
“The main reason for the proposed amendment to the government decree is the fact that a government member in the post of finance minister has long faced personal threats, mainly from criminal groups in connection with the Finance Ministry’s stance on the solution to duty and tax frauds,” the Interior Ministry’s document for the government says.
Chovanec refused to say how exactly the police would protect Babis and how much it would cost.
However, the costs are put at 82,000 crowns per day shift, including the wages of a police driver and bodyguards who rotate in four shifts. Further costs include the operation of the cars that the police must buy. Three cars are needed for one protected person. One such a car costs some 2.4 million crowns.
Babis said yesterday the costs of the police protection seemed exaggerated to him. Some money could be saved if no new cars were bought, he added.
“I did not like that the material proposed the purchase of three cars. I offered my own one, but I was told that it was not possible,” Babis texted to CTK. He added that he demanded only physical protection (bodyguards), which the approved rules did not enable.
However, Chovanec objected that the cars would not serve Babis only, but they would be used for foreign delegations, for instance.
Babis asked for police protection in early November, citing several previous threats addressed to him. He said a foreign mafia has wanted to attack his house, and also mentioned a letter with poison delivered to him in the past.
So far Babis, who is a billionaire businessman, has had his private bodyguards.
The police protective service is in charge of the protection of constitutional officials. Under the current law, only the president, the heads of both houses of parliament, the prime minister and the interior, justice and foreign affairs ministers are entitled to police bodyguards.
The president is the only constitutional official entitled to bodyguards even after his term in office expires.
($1=24.947 crowns)

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