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Finance Minister Babiš requests police protection

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Prague, Nov 5 (CTK) – Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis, chairman of the ANO movement, confirmed the information that he has asked for police protection over the danger that he allegedly faces, carried by Thursday´s issue of daily Pravo.

He said he does not know yet whether Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) will comply with his request. If he does, Babis will consider accepting the protection because he does not know precisely the regime of police protection, he said.

“I have asked for bodyguards because there are other cases where I am endangered. It is repeated effort to spoil my health,” Babis said, adding that he signed the application for police protection on Tuesday.

“It is strange that the respective law does not provide for the finance minister having bodyguards because he is always most heavily threatened, particularly if his agenda includes gambling and taxes,” Babis said.

He said many frauds are committed in these spheres.

Babis cited two cases of where he faced specific threats. “It is true that the Albanian Mafia wanted to attack my house, that police protected me and that they stayed with us,” Babis said.

He said the police behaved very professionally.

Babis also mentioned a letter with poison that was sent to him by post in the past.

Pravo writes that in a parliamentary discussion on Wednesday, Babis said people were hired to kill him four times.

In 2014, Babis also received his own funeral card by post as a threat.

In August 2015, it turned out that a foreign gang planned to kidnap his child.

Babis told Pravo that the finance minister should be automatically entitled to police bodyguards who protect constitutional officials.

The Czech officials entitled to the police protection are the president, the prime minister, three other ministers (interior, justice and foreign affairs) and the heads of the two houses of parliament. The defence minister is protected by the military police.

Bodyguards have been protecting Babis, his partner Monika and their children for eight years. Babis, a businessman who has become a billionaire, hired the bodyguards after Monika was attacked by an armed man at a Prague parking place.

Babis also pays his own car with a driver, Pravo writes.

Czech interior ministers usually grant police protection to officials who ask for it – in fact, any citizen who feels threatened may apply for it. The police bodyguards are responsible for the protection and transport of the person whom they guard.

In the 2000s, socialist lawmakers Milos Melcak, who crossed the floor and supported a right-wing government, and Evzen Snitily, who voted for the right-wing´s candidate Vaclav Klaus in the presidential election, received the protection.

Police protection was provided to the son of former prime minister Jan Fischer and the daughter of President Milos Zeman.

Constitutional officials have the right to reject the police protection. Former prime minister Petr Necas applied this right, having only a professional driver.

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