Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says a scandal surrounding his son has been
created in order to destroy him and force him out of politics. He made the
comment in Italy on Tuesday and said the affair was timed to coincide with
his foreign trip and this weekend’s anniversary of the start of the
Seznam Zprávy on Monday carried an interview with Andrej Babiš Jr. in which he said he had been forcibly moved to the Crimea as his father wanted him to “disappear” out of the way of a corruption investigation.
Mr. Babiš says his son is mentally ill and left the Czech Republic voluntarily.
The PM is facing a criminal investigation into allegations he wrongly acquired CZK 50 million in EU subsidies for the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague. He says the case is politically motivated.
The Supreme State Attorney’s Office said on Tuesday that it had ordered
prosecutors in Prague to investigate suspicions that the son of Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš may have been kidnapped. A representative of the
Supreme State Attorney’s Office said such an investigation would have to
entail the questioning of Andrej Babiš Jr., who lives in Switzerland.
Mr. Babiš’s son told reporters from Seznam Zprávy that he had forcibly moved to the Crimea as his father wanted him to “disappear” out of the way of a corruption investigation.
The prime minister denies the allegation and says his son is mentally ill. The police say they are also looking into claims made in the Seznam Zprávy report.
According to doctors’ reports, both Mr. Babiš’s son and his sister suffer from psychiatric problems and are unable to testify in a case in which the PM is accused of wrongly acquiring EU subsidies.
The authorities in Prague have announced plans to remodel the square
Karlovo náměstí, one of the largest green areas in the centre of the
city. CZK 230 million has been earmarked for the project, which will
involve the building of new walkways and the creation of a café,
playground and market area.
Work should begin next year with the sprucing up of old trees and green areas. However, the overall remodelling project will not begin until 2025, after detailed plans have been approved.
The Social Democrats, who are in government with ANO, have called on the
latter’s leader Andrej Babiš to respond to suggestions his son was
kidnapped. The Social Democrats’ deputy chairman Martin Netolický said
they would analyse a report on TV station Seznam Zprávy in which Mr.
Babiš’s son said he had been forcibly moved to the Crimea as his father
wanted him to “disappear” out of the way of a corruption investigation.
The Social Democrats’ leader, Jan Hamáček, said the situation was serious and his party would not rule out any possible scenario as regards future cooperation with ANO.
The deputy leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, Alexandra Udženija, called on Mr. Babiš to resign as prime minister over the matter. Another opposition party, TOP 09, have also called for the PM to step down.
Mr. Babiš says his son is mentally ill and left the Czech Republic voluntarily. The PM is facing a criminal investigation into allegations he wrongly acquired CZK 50 million in EU subsidies for the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague. He says the case is politically motivated.
The police have broadened an investigation into the Czech Football
Association and its former president, Miroslav Pelta, Czech Television
reported. The investigation centres on allegations of corruption linked to
the allocation of sports subsidies. Czech Television said police are also
looking into a fresh suspicion of bribery.
Police allege that Mr. Pelta supplied a free Prague centre apartment to a deputy minister of education and sport, with whom he agreed on the divvying up of sports grants. The ex-FA chief denies any wrongdoing.
US-based Czech pianist Tomáš Kačo launched his debut album My Home with
a recital at Prague’s Convent of St. Agnes on Monday evening. The concert
sold out quickly and a second show at the same venue will take place on
Tomáš Kačo comes from a large Roma family in a small town in Moravia and won a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He now lives in Los Angeles.
The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes on Monday handed out
awards for civic courage to 12 Czechs and foreign nationals.
Among the personalities honoured are Charter 77 signatory Daňa Horáková who ran a samizdat undercover organization together with Vaclav Havel, Russian journalist and dissident Alexandr Podrabinek who in the 1970s reported about the abuse of psychiatric institutions in Russia and Bulgarians Alexandr Dimitrov, Eduard Genov and Valentin Radev who as students had the courage to protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Among the Nazi resistence fighters honoured was 98-year-old war hero Bernard Papanek who fought at Dunkirk and Tobruk and Helena Steblová who helped resistence fighters during the war and whose whole family was sent to a labour camp as a result.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ younger son claims he was forcibly detained
in Crimea by his father’s associates at the time of the investigation of
the Stork’s Nest affair in which the prime minister is suspected of EU
Babiš Jr. told the news site seznam.cz that he had been given the option of “taking an extended holdiday” in Crimea or being locked up in a mental home.
He said he had spent some time in a psychiatric institution in the past. Babiš Jr. also revealed that he had signed some papers, but had no idea what he was signing.
The opposition parties are demanding an immediate explanation from the prime minister and have threatened to call a vote of no-confidence in his government over the matter.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, on Monday wound up his three-day visit to Paris, at the Pompidou Centre where in a discussion with its head Serge Lasvignes he expressed the desire to one day open a branch of the centre in Prague. Later today he will fly to Palermo, Italy where he is to take part in an international conference on the situation in Libya.