Andrej Babiš in 2017 via Wikimedia / David Sedlecký

Babiš’ prosecution is in Czech hands – EU anti-fraud head

The conclusions of the Czech investigation are fully in the hands of Czech authorities and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) will give them no advice

Brussels, Sept 3 (CTK) – The conclusions of the Czech investigation are fully in the hands of Czech authorities and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) will give them no advice, OLAF’s investigation department head Ernesto Bianchi told CTK today.

The Czech state attorney may have many reasons to have halted the investigation in the Capi hnizdo suspected EU subsidy fraud, relating to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), OLAF head Ville Itala said.

One has to wait for more information on the Czech development of the case if a detailed analysis is to be made, he added.

It is a positive result of the work of the office that European money was not eventually used on the construction of the Capi Hnizdo (Stork Nest) recreation complex, Bianchi said.

The OLAF was investigating the circumstances of the 50-million crown subsidy for Capi hnizdo, which had links to the Agrofert holding. It belonged to Babiš, who placed in trust funds.

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At the end of 2017, the OLAF said there was a suspicion of a subsidy fraud.

The Czech Finance Ministry then said the farm, which received an EU subsidy for small businesses and then was passed again under Agrofert, was exempted from European financing.

On Monday, the state attorney in charge of the case proposed that the prosecution of Babiš be halted.

Bianchi said that according to OLAF’s information, Czechs eventually decided to finance the project from the national means.

He repeated that the OLAF had uncovered a suspicion of the breach of EU rules. However, since the project is not sponsored by EU money, the OLAF does not deal with it any longer.

However, the OLAF will keep watching the case in order to analyse its conclusions and find differences between the EU and Czech laws which might appear when defining the responsibility.

These are the affairs that are to be checked in order to have a lesson for the future, Bianchi said.

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pvr/mr/bas

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