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Babiš is ready to answer Czech PM Sobotka’s new questions

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Prague, April 27 (CTK) – Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) is ready to answer Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s (Social Democrats, CSSD) new questions if he asks him, he told journalists yesterday adding that he can see no reason for his dismissal from the government.

He would not say now whether he would withdraw ANO ministers from the government if he were dismissed, Babis said.

Sobotka said today Babis owes the public and government coalition partners answers to many questions.

His purchases of one-crown bonds as well as the origin of his property are shrouded in suspicions and threaten the state’s trustworthiness, Sobotka said.

Babis criticised Sobotka for not waiting for his explanation of the transactions with the one-crown bonds in the Chamber of Deputies that has decided that he must do so by end-April.

“I would be very happy if he really waited for the explanation, but it seems that he has already made a decision,” Babis said about Sobotka.

He said he would answer Sobotka’s new questions if he asks him and that he does not want to react to statements made via the media.

Babis said he will hand a written explanation to Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (CSSD) on Friday.

He said he considers Sobotka’s questions nonsensical and that he thinks that Sobotka does not understand the matter.

Babis said, however, he has not received any request for answers to the questions.

“I do not consider it normal if the Prime Minister communicates with the vice-prime minister via the media,” he said.

He again criticised the conduct of the Chamber of Deputies, whose members have called on him to explain his business transactions.

“I naturally reject what the Chamber of Deputies has dared to do in relation to me. I consider it scandalous that they did not allow me to appear there,” Babis said.

“I cannot see any reason why he (Sobotka) should dismiss me. The moralising is really ridiculous. It is a campaign and it is absurd that our coalition partners are attacking us this way and harming the government,” Babis said.

He said he would make a decision on the possible withdrawal of ANO ministers from the government only if he himself were dismissed.

The government is comprised of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

Babis confirmed that he will discuss the matter with President Milos Zeman whom he will meet at Prague Castle next Wednesday.

“I am going to ask him what he thinks about it,” he said.

Babis also criticised Sobotka’s work in the post of finance minister in 2002-06. He said he caused the Czech Republic a damage of billions of crowns with his decisions.

“A. Babis is accustomed to intimidating people, he has improved his skills in taking over firms…I am waiting for an explanation of bonds and other cases,” Sobotka tweeted.

The public started to take interest in Babis’s activities when it surfaced that he bought bonds of his former Agrofert holding for 1.5 billion crowns.

During the clarification of the case, questions of whether he had enough money for this transaction and how he gained it arose.

($1=24.735 crowns)

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