Capi Hnizdo Trial: Babis’s Daughter, Wife and Brother-in-Law Refuse To Testify
Andrej Babis’ family members refuse to testify in court proceedings against the former PM. Photo Credit: Freepik
Prague, Sept 14 (CTK) – Former prime minister Andrej Babis’s wife Monika exercised her right not to testify in the court proceedings dealing with the Capi hnizdo suspected subsidy fraud, along with her brother Martin Herodes, and Babis’s daughter from his first marriage, Adriana Bobekova, who were also summoned to testify today.
Ludek Kalivoda, a former board member of the Farma Capi Hnizdo company, also refused to testify.
Unlike the other witnesses, Bobekova did attend court, excusing herself on health grounds. However, her brother Andrej Babis Jr said he wants to testify, according to judge Jan Sott. Babis Jr is due in court on Friday.
Andrej Babis Jr at first told the court that he was in Switzerland and would not come to court. The judge then arranged with Swiss authorities that Babis Jr may testify through a video conference in October, but he subsequently changed his mind, and plans to come to Prague.
All members of Babis’s family previously pleaded not guilty. Their prosecution was halted a couple of years ago. The prosecution of two suspects, Babis Sr and his former aide Jana Nagyova, was later reopened at the request of the chief public prosecutor. The trial of the pair started on Monday.
Babis, leader of the now-opposition party ANO, faces up to ten years in prison for assisting in a CZK 50 million subsidy fraud. Nagyova faces charges of subsidy fraud and harming the EU’s financial interest.
The prosecution alleges that Babis used his influence and activities to fraudulently ensure that Farma Capi Hnizdo outwardly met the criteria for an EU subsidy. The application for the subsidy was submitted by Nagyova in February 2008.
The company was originally a part of Babis’ giant chemical, agricultural and food holding company Agrofert. In December 2007, it became a joint stock company with bearer shares that were owned by Babisova, Bobekova, Babis Jr and Herodes. In summer 2008, it received a CZK 50 million subsidy within a program for small- and medium-sized businesses that it would never have received as part of Agrofert. After a couple of years of observing the terms of the subsidy, Capi Hnizdo returned to Agrofert.