Czech FM to analyse whether to release OLAF report

EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK

Jaroslav Faltynek (C), vice chairman of the ANO movement, speaks with journalists as he leaves the parliament building after negotiations a day after general elections in Prague, Czech Republic, 22 October 2017.

Czech FM to analyse whether to release OLAF report


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A legal analysis of whether to publish a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) about suspected EU subsidy fraud in the Capi hnizdo case is being conducted by the Czech finance ministry. The case implicates Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

According to Finance Minister Alena Schillerova, her ministry has asked Olaf to publish the report and would like to provide the information that may be released in a few days’ time.

As reported by the Prague Daily Monitor, the finance ministry received the report last week. It passed the Olaf report to the institutions to which the case may relate: the Regional Development Ministry, to which the Regional Operational Programme for cohesion in Central Bohemia (ROP SC) reports, and to the Supreme State Attorney’s Office.

The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, released Babis and his ANO party’s deputy head Jaroslav Faltynek for prosecution in September as they may be implicated in the case.

However, their prosecution was interrupted as both were re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies and regained lawmakers’ immunity in October. The police asked for their release for prosecution again, but the lower house has not decided on it yet, reported the Prague Daily Monitor.

Eleven people, including Babis and Faltynek, are facing charges in the case.

“The finance ministry cannot publish the report before it has an analysis from lawyers and information from Olaf. It may also turn to the state attorney supervising the case,” said Schillerova, who has not yet read the report.

Meanwhile, the deputy group of the Pirates called on the ministry to publicly release the report. “I am convinced that citizens have the right to know the conclusions of the report because they already paid the 50-million subsidy for Capi hnizdo,” Jakub Michalek, chairman of the Pirates deputy group, said.

Dominik Feri, a deputy for TOP 09, also asked the ministry for the report. He said the report was important for the execution of his post of deputy.

Feri posted his request on the Facebook. He cites the law on the Chamber of Deputies order of procedures saying that each of its members has the right to ask government members and heads of state offices for information and explanations necessary to perform their duties.

The head of TOP 09 deputy group Miroslav Kalousek tweeted that if the European Commission does not pay the subsidy for Capi hnizdo to the Czech Republic, the finance ministry should join the criminal prosecution as an aggrieved party and enumerate the damage.

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