Prague, Aug 24 (CTK) – ANO leader Andrej Babis should give up his seat in the Czech Chamber of Deputies over a scandal with EU subsidies if he insists on his April statement that parliamentary immunity should only relate to what is said in the lower house, Civic Democratic Party (ODS) leader Petr Fiala said on Thursday.
The Chamber of Deputies will start dealing with the police request to release Babis and Jaroslav Faltynek, chairman of the ANO deputy group, for prosecution at its session to start on September 6.
At the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008, the Capi hnizdo farm was a part of Agrofert, Babis’s giant chemical, agricultural and food processing complex. Afterwards, its owner changed through a chain of transactions that made the new owner hard to identify. Then it gained a 50-million-crown EU subsidy designed for small firms, which it could never gain as part of Agrofert. After a few years, it rejoined Agrofert.
Babis is no longer the Agrofert direct owner.
Since 2001, Faltynek worked in Agrofert in managerial posts. At the critical moment, he was deputy chairman of the board of the ZZN Pelhrimov holding which dominated the farm.
Babis was Czech finance minister and deputy prime minister from January 2014 to May 2017. His ANO is likely to win the October general election.
In April, Babis said on his Facebook profile that “deputies’ immunity is quite useless and outdated.”
ODS leader Petr Fiala said Babis might have really meant what he said.
Babis has called the request to release him for criminal prosecution “the last-ditch attempt of the corrupt system to eliminate and criminalise me by a scheme planned long before.”
Similarly, Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) has denoted the police request as an effort to influence the October election to the Chamber of Deputies.
Fiala said such words by a justice minister were unacceptable.
He said the case should not be a main topic of the election campaign and Babis should not be presented as a martyr.