Czech police demand indictment of prime minister in fraud case
PRAGUE (AP) – Czech police again recommended on Monday that Prime Minister Andrej Babis be charged with suspected fraud involving European Union grants.
The Prague public prosecutor’s office said they had received the results of the updated police investigation into Babis’ possible involvement in the $ 2 million fraud. Prosecutors must now decide whether to lay charges against Babis or dismiss them.
Police had already recommended the same thing two years ago, but a prosecutor decided to dismiss 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 either initiate or drop the charges.
It was not immediately clear when the prosecution could complete the reassessment of the case. The file has 34,000 pages.
The case concerns a farm which received EU subsidies after its ownership was transferred from the conglomerate of around 250 Babis-owned companies, Agrofert, to members of Babis’ family. The subsidies were intended for small and medium-sized enterprises and Agrofert would not have been entitled to them.
Later, Agrofert took back possession of the farm.
Babis, a populist billionaire, denies any wrongdoing.
Separately, a recently released European Union report concluded that Babis had a conflict of interest over EU subsidies involving his former business empire.