Transparency International Czech Republic (TI) found in the Slovak Register that Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, is the controlling person (beneficial owner) of Agrofert a.s. The findings may have serious implications for the areas of conflict of interest and EU funding policies.
The record of Agrofert, a.s., which contains the names of five Agrofert controlling entities, is published in the Slovak Register of Public Sector Partners. Four of them can be removed by the fifth person who is at the same time irrevocable. This controlling person and one of the end users of benefits is the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš.
The fact that the prime minister is a controlling person has various legal consequences, particularly for conflict of interest and subsidy policies.
"Given that the European Parliament has previously decided that firms owned by the politicians should not receive EU subsidies, there is a question of whether Agrofert's eligibility to use public funds should be re-examined," adds David Ondráčka, Director of the Czech TI chapter and a member of the International Board of TI.
Agrofert also owns the MAFRA Publishing Company, a.s. The Conflict of Interest Act imposes on ministers and the Prime Minister the prohibition of ownership or control of the media. "It's an offense that will end Babiš public proclamations that Agrofert was his former business. Andrej Babiš still dominates and controls Agrofert and there is conflict of interest," says TI analyst Milan Eibl.
"The MAFRA Publishing Company has suffered another blow regarding its impartiality and independence from its owner. At TI we highlighted the ambiguities regarding the property ties in other media. The Czech media have been strikingly passive about the whole situation, did not build on these findings," adds David Kotora, Director of TI fundraising and communications.
TI will continue to pursue vigorous follow-up and anticipate responses and proposals to solve the situation on the part of Agrofert and Andrej Babiš.
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TI Czech Republic director and a member of the International Board of TI
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