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Lower house postpones decision on release of three MPs

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Prague, Nov 30 (CTK) – The lower house of the Czech parliament postponed on Thursday its decision on the release of ANO chairman Andrej Babis, ANO first deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltynek and ODS MP Bohuslav Svoboda for criminal prosecution until the mandate and immunity committee has given its standpoint on the matter.

The mandate and immunity committee started discussing the police requests for the three MPs’ release, but it will be meeting again to debate them further.

The committee recommends to the plenary session whether it should release them for prosecution or not.

The plenary vote on their release has not been scheduled yet.

Babis and Faltynek were accused by the police over an alleged 50-million crown subsidy fraud in connection with the Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest) farm yet before the October election. Babis is also suspected of harming the EU’s financial interests.

Both MPs reject the accusation and speak about it being politically motivated.

The police had to request their release for the second time after both men were re-elected deputies of the Chamber in the general electio in October, fully regaining their MPs’ immunity. The Chamber had released them for prosecution early in September.

Svoboda’s release is related to the case of an overpriced order for Opencard, a Prague city smart card.

Svoboda had been released by the Chamber in the previous election term and he was sentenced to five years in prison, but the verdict was not effective and he appealed it.

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