Prague, Jan 16 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) took over the now giant Agrofert concern under suspicious circumstances at a time when he was a manager of this state-controlled firm, Pirate lower house group’s head Jakub Michalek said on Tuesday, but Babis dismissed this in parliament.
“I made up Agrofert, I founded it and it would not exist without me,” Babis told a lower house session before it took a confidence vote in his minority government, rejecting to support it.
Michalek said Agrofert was ac state-run firm in which Babis was a manager in 1994, but later Babis turned from a state manager of a state-run firm to its owner.
The billionaire Babis resolutely rejected this view. “This was no state-run firm. It was a joint-stock company including Slovak and Czech chemical plants,” he said.
Babis said he had his own vision and he established Agrofert in 1993.
Agrofert was originally a subsidiary of the Slovak foreign trade company Petrimex which associated Czech and Slovak chemical plants and for which Babis worked. According to available information, both companies were turned into joint-stock in 1995 when Babis said he was dismissed.
The Swiss from O.F.I., founded by Babis’s acquaintances, then gained the majority share in Agrofert.
Babis did not answer Michalek’s question about the identity of the owners of the O.F.I. firm.
In early 2017, then finance minister Babis had to transfer Agrofert to trust funds to comply with a new law on conflict of interest. He was the sole owner of the Agrofert concern, associating chemical, agriculture, food-processing and wood-processing firms and media outlets. Babis is one of the richest persons in the Czech Republic.