The Prague Metropolitan Court will now have to re-examine the case. Credit: Andrej Babis, via Facebook.

Court Annuls Verdict in ‘Stork’s Nest’ Trial of Former PM Andrej Babis Due To Erroneous Evidence

The High Court in Prague has overturned the verdict that acquitted former prime minister and ANO leader Andrej Babis and his former adviser Jana Nagyova in the Capi hnizdo (Stork’s Nest) case, citing insufficient and erroneous evidence, the server Czech Justice reported yesterday.

The appeals court stated that the verdict contained serious errors and the Prague Metropolitan Court will therefore have to re-examine the case.

In response, Babis told CTK that the first-instance court had examined the case from all angles. He believes it will uphold its decision. Babis said he has not yet been informed by his lawyers and is yet to study the decision.

“After 15 years since this pseudo-case, which the prosecutor once stopped and the court acquitted me of the charges, the case will be heard again. I find it absurd and endless,” Babis said.

The prosecutor has charged Nagyova with subsidy fraud and damaging the EU’s financial interests, while Babis is accused of aiding and abetting the subsidy fraud. Both defendants have repeatedly denied their guilt.

According to the server, the Prague High Court has major reservations about the Metropolitan Court’s analysis and processing of evidence, which it viewed as biased, very selective, and thus unconvincing. It said the panel of judge Jan Sott had ignored many pieces of evidence, and focused on a very limited part of the events without putting them in the whole context of the reconstruction project and building of the Stork’s Nest farm.

The prosecution claims Babis arranged in 2007-09 for the Farma Capi hnizdo firm to leave his giant Agrofert group, and become a joint stock company with bearer shares owned by his children and partner. The investigators say he did so in order for the company to appear to meet the conditions for a CZK 50 million subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses. Nagyova successfully applied for the subsidy on behalf of the company.

Babis placed his Agrofert holding, a giant chemical, agricultural and food concern, into trust funds in early 2017 in order to comply with the amended conflict of interest law.

According to the verdict issued by the Prague Metropolitan Court, now overturned, it was not proven in the trial that Babis and Nagyova had deliberately separated the Farma Capi hnizdo company from the Agrofert holding in order to apply for the subsidy. Judge Jan Sott concluded that the main reason this step was taken was family relations.

Court Annuls Verdict in ‘Stork’s Nest’ Trial of Former PM Andrej Babis Due To Erroneous Evidence
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