Court acquits Babis in EU funds fraud case

On Monday, Prague’s Municipal Court acquitted Czech ex-PM Andrej Babis in the so-called Stork's Nest case.

POLITICS JANUARY 9. 2023 17:32

The acquittal came a few days before the Czech presidential election, with Andrej Babis running as a contender. On Friday and Saturday, some 8.3 million Czech voters will go to the polls to decide on the successor of Milos Zeman, the outgoing head of state.

Andrej Babis faced charges that one of his companies ineligibly received 50 million Czech korunas in EU subsidies more than a decade ago for the construction of a leisure complex called Stork’s Nest.

The state prosecutor’s office had requested a three-year suspended sentence and a fine of 10 million Czech korunas, but the court found the accusations unfounded and acquitted the former prime minister. If Mr Babis and his associate had been found guilty, they would have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

According to Jan Sott, the body’s chief, the investigations produced no evidence proving that what the prosecution was pushing in the Stork’s Nest case would have been in violation of the law. The court’s decision is not final, the state prosecutor still has the opportunity to appeal.

From the beginning, Andrej Babis characterized the case as a political attack on his person, and claimed that its purpose was to remove him from politics.

„I am very happy that we have an independent court, and that it confirmed what I have been saying since the beginning: I am not guilty and I have not done anything illegal,”

said the president of the ANO movement, now in opposition, after the court ruling was announced.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also welcomed the news of the verdict, wishing Mr Babis all the best in a tweet. „Glad to see that facts still matter! My best wishes to
Andrej Babis. Keep on fighting!”

Another defendant in the Stork’s Nest case, Jana Nagyova, a former advisor to Babis, was also acquitted by the court.



andrej babis, czech republic, law