Andrej Babiš, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, has been accused of authorising the kidnapping of his son Andrej Babiš Junior to prevent him from testifying in a fraud investigation.
Andrej Babiš Junior, who was under investigation along with his father for EU subsidy fraud, told reporters that associates of the prime minister had given him a choice last year between “taking an extended holiday” in Crimea or being forcibly detained in a mental institution. He now resides in Switzerland.
Andrej Babiš Senior has been intermittently under investigation since 2015 over the “Storks Nest case”, wherein the prime minister was accused of concealing his ownership of the Čapí Hnízdo (Storks Nest) farm and attached convention centre in order to illegally obtain €2 million in EU subsidies meant for small businesses. His parliamentary immunity has been revoked and reinstated twice in the course of the investigation.
Čapí Hnízdo was owned by Agrofert, a Prague-based conglomerate holding company owned by Andrej Babiš, which would have been ineligible for the small business subsidies. In 2007 ownership of the property was transferred to a small anonymous company which was able to apply for the subsidies, but it was later revealed that the shareholders in the new company were Babiš Junior and his sister Adriana; Babiš Senior’s partner – now his wife – Monika; and Monika’s brother Martin Herodes.
Andrej Babiš Senior, who was elected on a platform of promising to eliminate Czech government corruption, has denied all allegations, saying Čapí Hnízdo was a gift to his family members. Ownership of the property has now returned to Agrofert.
Opposition parties have threatened a vote of no confidence in Andrej Babiš Senior in the wake of the accusations levied by his son. Babiš, who heads a minority coalition government and previously lost a no confidence motion in January of this year, is currently at an international conference on the future of Libya in Palermo, Italy.
Andrej Babiš Senior has said his son is unwell and left the Czech Republic of his own accord.