Prague, Sept 26 (CTK) – Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) repeated to President Milos Zeman that he has no information on the investigation of ANO leader Andrej Babis, former finance minister, within the Stork Nest case at Prague Castle on Wednesday, he told journalists after the meeting.
Police President Tomas Tuhy and financial police chief Petr Lysak took part in the meeting as well.
“We explained to the president that we have no chance to know more about the Stork Nest case than he knows about it from the media,” Chovanec said.
Most of the time, the discussion with Zeman concerned the system of the investigation of financial crime in the country, he said. With the Stork Nest case in particular, they dealt only a few minutes, he added.
Babis is suspected of a subsidy fraud.
In 2008, the Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) firm was a part of Agrofert, a giant chemical, agricultural and food-processing holding owned by billionaire, food and media mogul Babis. Afterwards, the firm’s owner changed through a chain of transactions that made the new owner hard to identify. Then it won a 50-million-crown EU subsidy designed for small firms, which it could never get as part of Agrofert. A few years later, it rejoined Agrofert.
Earlier this year, Babis was forced to transfer Agrofert to trust funds.
At the police request, the lawmakers released Babis and ANO deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek for criminal prosecution in early September.
Zeman challenged the launch of the prosecution six weeks before the October 20-21 general election and said it might be a police provocation. The representatives of the police and judiciary dismissed this view.
Zeman indicated that CSSD acting chairman Chovanec may have used the police against his party’s main political rival, the ANO movement.
Zeman already talked about the criminal case with Babis and Justice Minister Robert Pelikan, who claims that the true aim of the investigation is to harm ANO in the forthcoming elections.