Former Prime Minister and presidential candidate Andrej Babiš continues to be investigated by French authorities on prices of tax evasion and cash laundering, in response to a number of Czech media shops.
The Nationwide Monetary Prosecutor’s Workplace (PNF), a French company that handles main financial and monetary crimes, is wanting into the circumstances underneath which ANO occasion chief and aspiring Czech president acquired a villa within the south of France by a series of offshore corporations primarily based in Monaco and the British Virgin Islands.
Babiš claims the acquisition was authorized and has constantly claimed that this investigation is nonsense. In the one televised debate he participated in earlier than the primary spherical of presidential elections (13 and 14 January), Babiš mentioned he was unaware of the investigation and that nobody had contacted him.
He additionally talked about the truth that solely the “left-wing” newspaper Le Monde had written about it, suggesting that it was a lie and a fabrication by the media.
The prosecutor’s workplace was contacted by journalists from Hospodářské noviny, Deník N and in addition Seznam Zprávy.
“The investigation is constant, though at this stage there have been no interviews or summonses,” the PNF mentioned when explicitly requested by Seznam Zprávy whether or not presidential candidate Babiš had been contacted by investigators.
The French prosecutor’s workplace has confirmed that the case, which was opened on February 2022, offers with Babiš’s involvement within the so-called Pandora Papers. These are leaked paperwork which present that a variety of influential individuals, together with prime ministers and presidents from numerous international locations all over the world, conceal their property behind shell corporations in tax havens.
Babiš additionally had issues with the regulation within the Czech Republic. Simply earlier than the primary spherical of elections, nevertheless, the courtroom mentioned he was harmless within the case of illegally acquiring EU subsidies.
Forward of the second spherical of the presidential election (27 and 28 January), estimates favour his opponent, former Basic Petr Pavel, to change into the brand new head of state.
Babiš will not be keen to simply accept that, nevertheless, and has begun to make use of a harsh rhetoric, for instance accusing his opponent of wanting to pull the Czech Republic into warfare.
(Ondřej Plevák | EURACTIV.cz)