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Present, former FinMins accuse each other of giant thefts

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Prague, July 10 (CTK) – Czech opposition MP Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) branded Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) a thief and liar during the lower house debate on a bill on the electronic registration of sales Friday, while Babis accused Kalousek, former finance minister, of having stolen billions of crowns.
Kalousek compared Babis, who is a food, chemical and media magnate, to a leech sponging on the state.
After his words met with a protest from Jaroslava Jermanova (ANO), a lower house deputy head who was chairing the session, Kalousek compared Babis to a tick, and after Jermanova’s repeated protest to a tapeworm.
The Chamber of Deputies approved the bill, initiated by Babis, in the first reading after a six-hour stormy debate in spite of the opposition’s resistance Friday.
The government expects the introduction of compulsory electronic cash registers to reduce tax evasion and grey economy, and raise the state revenues by more than 10 billion crowns.
“This is not a bill against self-employed people, such assertion is a lie. Honest self-employed people welcome the bill,” Babis said in reaction to the arguments of the opposition.
He said the bill’s goal is also to remove the advantage that dishonest tradespeople enjoy on the market.
The right-wing opposition TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats (ODS) say the bill, if passed, would liquidate small and medium-size companies and that it enables a dangerous accumulation of data in the hands of the state.
Kalousek, who is TOP 09 deputy chairman, said the bill will never make it through and warned against state money being earmarked for the project beforehand.
“I don’t know how he wants to manage it,” Babis said in reaction to Kalousek’s assertion that the opposition will block the bill in the final reading.
In the debate, Kalousek pointed out contradictions between Babis’s reports on his own business firms. Three days ago, Babis said his firms also pay taxes abroad, Friday he said he has no firms abroad, Kalousek said.
“Either he lied on July 7 or he lied on July 10…I ‘ve known him for 25 years. After 25 years I know that lies and steals,” Kalousek said, referring to Babis.
Kalousek has been a politicians since the 1990s.
Babis apologised for what he called inaccurate statements. When saying that he has no firm abroad, he meant an offshore firm, similar to the one Mr Kalousek and arms dealer Richard Hava run in Austria and Switzerland based on the billions of crowns he stole, Babis said.
Kalousek reiterated that the bad payment discipline of Babis’s companies strips the state of ten times more money than the payment discipline of self-employed people.
Small tradespeople’s tax evasion strips the state of minor sums, while Mr Babis wants to rob the state budget of 5 billion crowns in the area of biofuel production alone, and he robs it of another 5 billion through his Synthesia Pardubice chemical firm.
Babis said the income tax he paid to the state in the past five years reached 214.7 million crowns and his firms paid the corporate tax worth 3.1 billion in 2014 alone.
He accused Kalousek of raising the state debt by 670 billion crowns when he was finance minister in 2007-2009 and 2010-2013.
($1=24.528 crowns)

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