Police have launched criminal proceedings in the case of the Stork’s Nest
farm and hotel complex which was investigated on suspicion of EU subsidy
The case is linked to ANO leader Andrej Babiš who is suspected of having
orchestrated a plan for his Stork’s Nest farm to acquire a 50 million
crown EU subsidy which should technically have been out of his reach.
Earlier this month the lower house stripped both Andrej Babiš and his deputy Jaroslav Faltýnek of their parliamentary immunity opening the way for prosecution.
The police have not released information on the number of people charged in the case.
There’s little doubt that the European Union has gone through a lot of turbulence over the past few years and has scrambled to come up with new policies as a result. But the outgoing Czech prime minister believes it has boosted the country’s reputation in these difficult times and cast itself as a reliable and steady partner.
The prime minister has called a meeting for Monday to tweak final details
of the proposal for next year’s state budget.
The meeting will take place an hour before the regular cabinet meeting.
It will be attended by the heads of the government parties along with an extra two representatives each. The news was confirmed by cabinet spokesman Martin Ayrer.
ANO MP Martin Komárek has written a satire based on his experiences in the
Czech lower house. The book is entitled A Dangerous Band, or the Czech
Deputy and Other Retarded Species (Nebezpečné stádo aneb poslanec
český a jiné retardované druhy). The author writes that he has observed
his fellow MPs “like Diane Fossey among gorillas”.
Mr. Komárek, who was previously a newspaper columnist, is not standing for re-election in next month’s general elections.
Deputy Trade Minister Karel Novotný from the Social Democratic Party has
apologized for an anti-Romany statement he posted on Facebook. The deputy
compared Romanies to jellyfish, saying they were troublesome and useless.
Trade Minister Jiří Havlíček promptly distanced himself from the statement, saying it was totally unacceptable. Havlíček is to lose his quarterly bonuses as a result of the incident.
The Chamber of Deputies is on Wednesday meeting for the final time in its
current line-up. The next time MPs will gather in the lower house of the
Czech Parliament will be after elections in the second half of October.
Among the deputies who are not running for re-election are ANO’s Jiří Zlatuška, Martin Komárek, former minister of justice Helena Válková and current minister of finance Ivan Pilný. Another well-known face certain not to return to the 200-seat house after the elections is Jeroným Tejc of the Social Democrats.
Christian Democratic Party leader Pavel Bělobrádek has ruled out the
possibility that his party would enter into a coalition with a politician
charged with fraud.
He was referring to the leader of the ANO party Andrej Babiš whom the lower house stripped of his parliamentary immunity this week opening the way for criminal prosecution.
The police want to charge Mr. Babiš with subsidy fraud and harming the financial interests of the EU in connection with a 50 million crown subsidy acquired for the Stork’s Nest farm.
Opinion polls suggest that his ANO party will win October’s general elections by a large margin.
Maintaining a strong negotiating position in the EU, increasing defense
spending, implementing anti-drought measures and developing a competitive
economy based on high skills and high value-added products; those are some
of the Soboka government’ s recommendations to the future administration.
The document, cited by the ctk news agency, enumerates some of the current government’s biggest achievements, among them stabilizing the country’s finances, reducing unemployment and increasing the minimum wage.
Although the present administration did not adopt a time frame for euro adoption, it says the next government should open a public debate on joining the euro.
The lower house of the Czech Parliament voted after many hours of debate on
Wednesday to lift the immunity of two ANO deputies, party chief Andrej
Babiš and Jaroslav Faltýnek, to allow the police to charge them with
The two are accused of illicitly acquiring around CZK 50 million in EU grants in connection with the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel. At the time it was owned by Mr. Babiš’s firm Agrofert.
During Wednesday’s debate Mr. Babiš asked the lower house to vote to lift his immunity. However, he also said the move was part of an attempt to reduce his party’s chances in elections to the Chamber of Deputies next month.
Czech MEP for ANO, Pavel Telička, would release the party leader Andrej
Babiš and the deputy chair Jaroslav Faltýnek for criminal prosecution
over a scandal with EU subsidies for Babiš' Stork Nest resort, the
news site novinky.cz reported on Saturday.
According to Telička, immunity should only apply for speeches delivered in the lower house. The immunity committee this week recommended that the two deputies be stripped of their immunity. The final decision will be made next week at a session of the lower house. According to ANO party board there is no reason to release their leader for prosecution.