Andrej Babis, a billionaire and the Czech Republic’s former minister of finance, has been charged with a fraud involving $2M in EU small business subsidies. Babis is widely expected to mid the October 20-21 election and become the Czech Republic’s next Prime Minister. Jaroslav Faltynek, the deputy leader of Babis’ political party, has been charged in relation to the same scheme. Babis has called the charges politically motivated.
The alleged scheme involves illegally accessing funds for a farm and conference center known as the “stork nest.” Babis is accused of transferring ownership of the stork nest from his enormous conglomerate, Agrofert, to make it eligible for EU small business credits, and then later returning it to the holding company. In August, a Czech parliamentary requested that political immunity protections be lifted from Babis and Faltynek. The two men were stripped of immunity last week. The scandal does not seem to have hurt Babis in the polls.
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