Prague, Jan 16 (CTK) – The lower house mandate and immunity committee recommended on Tuesday that the Chamber of Deputies plenary session release PM and ANO leader Andrej Babis and ANO first deputy head Jaroslav Faltynek for prosecution in the Capi hnizdo case of a suspected EU subsidy fraud, according to CTK sources.
It is not sure yet when the whole Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, will deal with the police request for their release.
The police accused Babis of a subsidy fraud and harming the EU financial interests, while Faltynek was accused of assisting in a subsidy fraud in the Capi hnizdo case last year.
However, their prosecution, for which the previous Chamber of Deputies released them, was interrupted as they were re-elected MPs and regained immunity last October. The police had to ask the Chamber of Deputies for their release for prosecution again.
Mandate and immunity committee member Marek Vyborny (Christian Democrats) tweeted that 11 members out of the total 19 had voted for the release of Babis and Faltynek.
MPs for the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS), Pirates, Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), Communists (KSCM), Social Democrats (CSSD), Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), TOP 09 and Mayors and Independents (STAN) have together exactly 11 members in the committee, while Babis’s ANO has eight.
Both Babis and Faltynek deny any wrongdoing and say their prosecution is politically motivated.
They also said on Tuesday they would ask the Chamber of Deputies to release them for prosecution.
Some deputy groups want the lower house to decide on their release for prosecution before the vote of confidence on Babis’s ANO minority government. However, it is more probable that the MPS will debate the police request in a week only.
Another nine people are accused in the Capi hnizdo case, including Babis’s wife.
Until late 2007, the Farma Capi hnizdo company belonged to Babis’s Agrofert concern. Afterwards, its stake was transferred to bearer shares so that Capi hnizdo as a small firm could win the subsidy of 50 million crowns , which a firm of the huge Agrofert could never get. It observed this condition for a few years, but later it became part of Agrofert again. Moreover, the investigators concluded that there was no economic or trade reason to make the change.
In February 2017, billionaire businessman Babis transferred Agrofert to trust funds to comply with a new conflict of interest law.