The Guardian: Verdict of Czech local council on Babiš could influence EC investigation

04-02-2019

The Guardian has devoted attention to what it calls the breakthrough verdict of the Černošice council on the Czech prime minister’s alleged conflict of interests.

The Guardian notes that the Černošice council is the first Czech institution to declare that the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, still controls the giant multi-industry group Agrofert, even though he put the conglomerate into trust funds to meet a strict new conflict of interest law.

The daily notes that the verdict, issued on January 21st, could have wider resonance by influencing the outcome of the European Commission’s investigation into Agrofert’s receipt of EU subsidies in recent years. The prime minister has responded with anger to the Černošice ruling, which he described as “politicised” and vowed to challenge it.

The Czech branch of the international watchdog Transparency International filed a complaint both with the European Commission and the Černošice council - a small municipality just outside Prague where Babiš lives - because Czech law states that conflict of interest complaints must be registered with the relevant local authority.