Prosecutor Appeals Ex-PM Babis’s Acquittal In Capi Hnizdo Case
The case will now go to the Prague High Court of appeals. Photo: Freepik.
Prague, April 12 (CTK) – Public prosecutor Jaroslav Saroch yesterday launched an appeal against the verdict that acquitted former PM Andrej Babis (ANO) and his former aide Jana Nagyova in the Capi hnizdo subsidy fraud case, said Ales Cimbala, spokesman for the Prague Metropolitan Prosecutor’s Office, confirming earlier reports from Seznam Zpravy.
The Prague High Court of appeals will now deal with the case.
The prosecutor filed the appeal without more detailed justification which will be added by 5 May, said Cimbala.
The Prague Metropolitan Court issued the verdict on 9 January, and sent the reasoning in a written form to the involved parties last week. Saroch’s deadline for appealing the verdict would expire on Thursday this week.
Babis’s defence lawyer Michael Bartoncik told Seznam Zpravy that he saw no reason for the appeal, either from the defence or prosecution side.
In the Capi hnizdo case, Nagyova was suspected of subsidy fraud and harming the financial interests of the EU, and Babis was charged with assisting in a subsidy fraud.
The prosecution alleges that in late 2007 and early 2008, Babis had the Farma Capi hnizdo firm separated from his giant Agrofert holding, and converted it into a joint stock company with bearer shares owned by his children and partner, so that the firm appeared to meet the criteria for a subsidy designated for small and medium-sized businesses. Nagyova was the official who filed the successful application for the EU subsidy.
After a couple of years of observing the subsidy conditions, Farma Capi hnizdo returned to Agrofert.
Both Babis and Nagyova deny the charges.
Judge Jan Sott said in January that the prosecution had not proven that Babis and Nagyova had separated the Farma Capi hnizdo firm from the Agrofert holding deliberately in order to apply for the subsidy, and that the reasons for the change were rather family relations. He also noted that Agrofert and Farma Capi hnizdo were not competing with each other on the same relevant market.
After the acquittal, Babis said it was good news for all Czech citizens that there was rule of law in the Czech Republic. He apologised for having described the case as a political trial, but insisted that it was a politically motivated criminal prosecution.
Nagyova said the case had affected her family, work and friends.