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PM: ANO head Babiš not playing fair play

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Prague, Dec 11 (CTK) – Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) does not play the fair play because he uses doping in the form of his own media and companies in politics, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told Czech Television yesterday.
Babis bought the Mafra media group that publishes Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) and Lidove noviny (LN), two of the biggest Czech dailies, in 2013.
He also owns the Impuls radio station, which has the biggest audience in the Czech Republic.
According to the Forbes magazine, Babis’s property is worth 2.4 billion US dollars and he is the second richest businessman in the Czech Republic, after Petr Kellner (11.4 billion US dollars).
Babis is a food and media mogul who helped establish the Agrofert company in the 1990s. He has gradually gained its control.
In autumn 2011, Babis founded the movement Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO) that was transformed into ANO 2011.
Sobotka confirmed his words from the Saturday meeting of the Social Democrat broad leadership when he described Babis as an “unfair player” who abused the power and the media.
“If someone uses the doping of one’s own media and companies in the politics, the person can be hardly called a fair player,” he added.
Babis said he was taken by surprise by Sobotka’s criticism.
He said he felt sorry that the contest before the election was starting so soon since it worsened the atmosphere in the government.
Babis told Czech Television that Sobotka’s rhetoric towards him had changed after the autumn regional election, in which ANO won in nine out of the 13 regions, while the Social Democrats only in two.
“He keeps attacking me,” Babis said.
Sobotka went on to criticise President Milos Zeman for having praised too much Babis in his speech on the budget bill in the Chamber of Deputies last week.
Zeman said that Babis deserved a Nobel Prize for his achievements.
Sobotka said if anything, the civil servants and ministers deserved the prize for having drawn money from European subsidies.
Sobotka said thanks to them, the Czech Republic had received so much money from the European budget that the budget would eventually score a surplus.

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