Czech police have finalised their investigation and proposed to the state prosecutor to charge six people including Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his wife for their alleged roles in the Stork’s Nest scandal involving the fraud worth CZK 50 million in EU funds. The supervising state prosecutor will now study the investigation and decide on whether or not to file charges against the Prime Minister. Babiš could face between 5 and 10 years in prison if he is convicted.
“Babiš will finally be forced to face allegations that implicate him in an elaborate scheme to defraud the EU out of millions of euros. Any fraud involving EU funds cannot be tolerated and must be punished even if the perpetrator happens to be a sitting Prime Minister,” said the co-leading candidate of the European Green Party, Greens/EFA co-president Ska Keller.
“If found guilty, it would not only be hugely damaging for the Czech Republic but the whole of the EU. Having someone convicted of EU subsidiy fraud and sitting at Europe’s top tables making decisions that affect the lives of millions of Europeans is completely inconceivable. The European Commission should announce how it intends to react to these developments and speed up its own investigation into potential conflicts of interest surrounding Babiš,” Keller concluded.
“These are very serious allegations and we hope investigators will be able to carry out their work free from political interference. It also underlines the importance of having a European prosecutor, who can work with complete independence. But if found guilty, there needs to be immediate action to make sure that justice can run its course,” added Bas Eickhout, Dutch MEP and co-leading candidate of the European Green Party.
“Over the years, the Czech Prime Minister has established a cozy friendship with people in high places, including Guy Verhofstadt and the liberal ALDE Group, which his political party belongs. Macron had the audacity to call Babiš a ‘liberal’ leader even if he has openly campaigned on a Trump-style anti-immigration platform. Alde’s continuing support for Babiš cannot go on unchallenged as it comes at the cost of European values,” said Eickhout.