Czech PM is in conflict of interest, confirms final European Commission audit

Subsidies paid to a firm controlled by Andrej Babiš through a trust fund are unjustified and should be repaid to the EU, the report says.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 24.04.2021 09:14 (updated on 24.04.2021) Time to read: 1 minute

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is in a conflict of interest as he still controls the trust funds to which he transferred his property, according to a final audit report released by the European Commission on Friday.

The report deals with EU subsidies paid to Agrofert.

The report has confirmed the European Commission's previous findings. The subsidies Agrofert has received since February 9, 2017 are not justified, the report says.

Babiš has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the Czech Republic will not return any money to the EU.

The fact that Babiš himself appointed all the officials of the trust funds, who he can also dismiss, was vital in the findings, the audit states.

As a result, Babiš still controls these two trust funds, and through these trust funds he controls Agrofert, the report says. It adds that Babiš has a direct economic interest in the success of Agrofert.

The Czech Republic should return subsidies the company has unjustly received from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Social Fund after the date in question, the audit states.

Babiš transferred ownership of Agrofert to trust funds in early 2017, when he was finance minister, in order to avoid conflict of interest allegations.

"I reject any conflict of interest," Babiš tweeted after the release of the final report.

"It is a purposeful and manipulated audit artificially induced by professional whistleblowers from the ranks of Pirates."

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