Thursday 19 October 2017

Favourite to be Czech Republic's next PM charged with fraud

Andrej Babis is tipped to be the next Czech Republic's next prime minister (AP)
Andrej Babis is tipped to be the next Czech Republic's next prime minister (AP)

The leading candidate to become the Czech Republic's next prime minister has been charged with fraud involving two million US dollars in European Union subsidies.

Andrej Babis, a former Czech finance minister and billionaire, said the case is politically motivated aimed at hurting his chances in this month's parliamentary election.

Last month, politicians agreed to lift Babis' parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

Babis' centrist Ano movement is widely expected to win the October 20-21 election.

Another Ano official, Jaroslav Faltynek, also has been charged and denies the accusations.

The case involves a farm that received an EU subsidy after its ownership was transferred from the Agrofert conglomerate of some 250 companies that belonged to Babis to Babis' family members.

The EU farm subsidy was meant for medium and small businesses.

AP

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