Monday 31 May 2021 2:21 pm

Czech police call for own Prime Minister’s indictment in EU subsidy fraud case

Czech police have recommended that Prime Minister Andrej Babis should be indicted over alleged fraud involving European Union subsidies.

Prague’s prosecution office said it has received the results of the updated police investigation into Babis’s possible involvement in the fraud. Prosecutors now have to decide whether to file charges against Babis or dismiss them.

Police already recommended the same two years ago but a prosecutor decided to drop the case. That decision was later overturned by the country’s chief prosecutor, Pavel Zeman, who said it was done prematurely and without enough evidence to press or drop the charges.

It was not immediately clear when the prosecution might finish the re-evaluation of the case. The file has 34,000 pages.

EU farm subsidies

The case involves a farm that received EU subsidies after its ownership was transferred from the Babis-owned Agrofert conglomerate of around 250 companies to Babis’s family members. The subsidies were meant for medium-size and small businesses and Agrofert would not have been eligible for them. Later, Agrofert again took ownership of the farm.

Babis, a populist billionaire, denies any wrongdoing. Separately, a recently published European Union report concluded that Babis has a conflict of interest over EU subsidies involving his former business empire.

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