Prague, Czech Republic – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ judicial problems are accumulating after police launched a new criminal investigation into the financial management of the so-called Stork’s Nest complex, a hotel resort and conference center that belongs to the Agrofert conglomerate founded by the current Prime Minister.
According to local Neovlivní.cz website, citing police spokeswoman Eva Kropáčkova, Czech investigators suspect the company of tax fraud and evasion.
Reacting to the news through its spokesman, Agrofert said that it didn’t receive any information regarding this case but dismissed any allegation of wrongdoing or financial irregularity.
The Stork’s Nest Resort was already at the heart of a police investigation for EU subsidy fraud, where Czech investigators recommended the indictment of Prime Minister Andrej Babis, along with other defendants, suspecting him of a fraud of around 50 million Kc (2 million euros) in EU funds. The matter is now in the hands of the state attorney, who will decide whether or not to prosecute.
Andrej Babis is also facing a domestic investigation for conflict of interest due to his ties to Agrofert, despite having transferred his ownership of the conglomerate into two trust funds in 2017 to comply with new anti-graft legislation. Similarly, a preliminary report of the EU investigation into the matter found that the Czech Prime Minister was in a situation of conflict of interest. The full findings should be released later this year.
The Czech Premier, a former businessman and second richest man in the country, has always denied any wrongdoing in those cases, and has branded the judicial proceedings as a political campaign launched by his opponents to force him out of office.
Nevertheless, this latest investigation into his past business dealings ramps up pressure on the Czech PM, who has faced mass protests calling for his resignation in the past months, on top of having to deal with a political crisis threatening to bring down his government and prompt snap elections.