Czech police say PM Babis should stand trial in fraud case

Czech police say PM Babis should stand trial in fraud case
  • Clock-gray 18:24
  • calendar-gray 17 April 2019

Czech police said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Andrej Babis and others should stand trial for alleged fraud involving the handling of a 2 million euro European Union subsidy - charges that could see him jailed for up to 10 years, APAreports citing Reuters.

PM Babis has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and told the state news agency on Wednesday that the case was part of a political plot against him. “It has been politicized,” he said.

“The investigation by the police has been concluded and ... there is a recommendation to indict all those charged by the police,” the spokesman for the Prague district state attorney’s office said. Babis was among those charged, the spokesman added.

In the Czech legal system, police bring initial charges. They then investigate and present findings to a state attorney who decides whether to go to court, ask police to investigate further, or halt the proceedings.

Police have said they are looking into accusations that Babis hid his ownership of a farm and conference center, called Capi hnizdo (Stork Nest), so that it could qualify for an EU subsidy meant for small businesses.

Babis has said it was owned by his family members when the subsidy was awarded and only later folded into his Agrofert group of companies.

The European Union has said its OLAF anti-fraud unit has also been looking into the case.

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