Czech PM suspected of misdemeanour over Babis´s screening


03.04.2014 14:14

Prague - Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) faces administrative proceedings on suspicion of having committed a misdemeanour when he proposed Andrej Babis (ANO) for finance minister without demanding a lustration certificate from him, the reported today .


Ministr financí Andrej Babiš (vlevo) a premiér Bohuslav Sobotka na schůzi Poslanecké sněmovny 4. února v Praze. ČTK Šulová Kateřina

A negative lustration (screening) certificate, which future government members were used to submit, would refute collaboration with the former communist secret police (StB) of which billionaire businessman Babis is suspected.

A request for administrative proceedings against Sobotka was filed with the Prague 1 town hall, Prague 1 mayor Oldrich Lomecky (TOP 09) told CTK today.

His office also received the same proposal for President Milos Zeman who appointed Babis minister without a negative lustration certificate. However, no administrative proceedings can be launched against the head of state, Lomecky said.

Both proposals were filed on March 24 by the same person, he added.

The Prague 1 office has already sent a letter to Sobotka asking him whether he will use his deputy´s immunity or take part in the proceedings at the town hall.

Sobotka, who pleads not guilty, said he would attend the administrative proceedings in which he faces a fine of 5000 crowns.

If Sobotka used his immunity, the Chamber of Deputies immunity committee would deal with the case.

Sobotka said the case was the price to be paid for the formation of the coalition government with Babis´s ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) as the only reasonable variant in the Chamber of Deputies.

"Babis did not ask for a lustration certificate and thus he had no one. If I had not proposed him for minister, we would not have had a new government and we would have faced political instability after the elections," Sobotka said.

"In my opinion, I did not commit a misdemeanour by my proposal [of Babis for minister]. However, it us up to the respective administrative body to decide on it," he added.

Slovak-born food and media tycoon Babis is registered as an informer and later an agent of the StB in its files that are preserved in Slovakia. He, however, claims that the documents were fabricated and sues the Slovak Nation's Memory Institute (UPN), administering the security forces' files.

Babis was also a member of the pre-1989 Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC).

($1=19.922 crowns)

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