Prague/Bratislava - Neither a positive nor a negative verdict of a Slovak court on ANO chairman and Finance Minister Andrej Babis´s suspected collaboration with the former communist secret police (StB) can derail a new Czech government, PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said today.
Babis, food and media tycoon of Slovak origin who is also deputy prime minister for the economy in Sobotka´s coalition cabinet, will attend the court proceedings in Bratislava today to decide on his StB collaboration, which he denies.
Babis filed a legal complaint in this respect against the Slovak Nation's Memory Institute (UPN), administering the security forces' files. He wants the court to rule that he was registered as an StB agent unrightfully.
"I do not think that any Slovak court´s decision in the case of Mr Babis can derail the government or prevent it from fulfilling its programme and pushing through the changes on which the programme was based," Sobotka said today, in reaction to a journalist´s question after installing Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) in office.
"I am convinced that this is Mr Babis´s personal decision, it is a matter of his ANO movement," Sobotka added.
Billionaire 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.
In the past he admitted that he had been in contact with StB officers as an employee of the then Czechoslovak communist foreign trade company. However, he has always denied having been an StB agent.
The UPN experts consider the archive files proving Babis´s collaboration with the StB trustworthy.