This press release was originally released by Transparency International Czech Republic.
Transparency International Czech Republic (TIC) sent the first of two complaints about Andrej Babiš’s conflict of interest in connection with him being the controlling entity of the Agrofert holding. Černošice municipality will handle the complaint.
In June 2018, TIC drew attention to a document in the Slovak Register of Public Sector Partners (which, unlike the Czech Register of Data on Real Owners, is open to the public) according to which, there are names of the five beneficial owners of Agrofert.
Among them is Andrej Babiš. As a founder and beneficiary of AB private trust I and AB private trust II, his position is so strong that there is a reasonable suspicion that he is also one of the controlling entities of the Agrofert holding, which also includes Londa spol. s r.o., (broadcaster) and MAFRA, a.s. (periodical press publisher) and Stanice O, a.s. (broadcaster).
Pursuant to the Act on Conflict of Interest (159/2006 Coll.), some public officials, including members of the government, are prohibited from being the controlling entity of broadcasters or periodical press publishers. For this reason, TIC asserts that an offense has been committed.
Why TIC makes two complaints?
The first complaint concerns a violation of the Czech law on conflict of interest in relation to media ownership. If the competent authority finds a violation of the law, Andrej Babiš will have to pay a fine of CZK 250,000. The competent authority for dealing with this offense, the Municipal Office in Černošice, is determined by the permanent residence of Andrej Babiš.
“We have sent the complaint today and we want to give the office the appropriate time and space to thoroughly study all arguments without any external influences. That is why we will publish the full text of the announcement on the transparency.cz website only when we know how the complaint was handled. This is the standard procedure of TI in similar cases,” says Petr Leyer, a TIC lawyer.
The second complaint will be addressed to the European Commission in Brussels. TIC will focus on the question of the legitimacy of drawing European subsidies by the Agrofert holding.
“The problem is on the European level and concerns everyone. The European Commission has to clearly states whether politicians and their companies can draw EU subsidies. New financial rules are being tightened and this may lead to Agrofert not being able to draw billions in subsidies. Babiš would then have to sell Agrofert completely or leave politics,” adds David Ondráčka, Director of Transparency International Czech Republic and member of the Board of Directors at Transparency International.
“Although Andrej Babiš can once again (falsely) say that this is just a campaign done on purpose, we want to emphasize that the complaints are processed on the basis of extensive legal analysis and that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting violations of both Czech and European regulations. Therefore, it is highly appropriate for the competent authorities to decide on these matters,” adds David Kotora, Head of Fundraising and Communications of TIC.
About Transparency International Czech Republic
Transparency International Czech Republic maps the state of corruption in the Czech Republic and actively contributes to its reduction, as part of the international network, Transparency International. For more information, visit: www.transparency.cz
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