Ex-PM Babis’s fate in hands of rival MPsReading Time: < 1 minute
Former Czech prime minister Andrej Babis could lose immunity from prosecution and face charges of misuse of EU funds when MPs vote on the matter next week, Euractiv reports. Rival party leaders have confirmed that their MPs will vote in favour of lifting Babis’s parliamentary immunity for the third time, following similar actions in 2017 and 2018.
The allegations concern Agrofert’s involvement in Stork Nest Farm, which has periodically been part of the holding company. Although the farm was sold off before it received EUR 2 million in EU subsidies, it returned into Agrofert’s ownership structure two years later. European Commission auditors raised concerns over a possible conflict of interest in connection with holding company Agrofert, of which Babis is listed as owner in multiple countries.
The new liberal-conservative cabinet led by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala narrowly beat Babis’s ANO party in October, when his coalition partner parties failed to reach the 5% threshold required to enter Parliament. During the campaign billionaire Babis was mentioned in the Pandora Papers leaks, which detailed an allegedly covert purchase of a EUR19 million French estate. Czechia’s right-wing President Milos Zeman remains a fan, however, and recently expressed support for Babis succeeding him in 2023.