The state-owned Agricultural and Forestry Support and Guarantee Fund (PGRLF) sued the Agrofert Group for failing to return CZK 5 million in subsidies. According to the fund, fouFundmpanies of Agrofert, whose revenues amounted to about CZK 161 billion the year before last, had illegally drawn subsidies intended for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The companies denied the error and the return of the subsidies. Agrofert spokesman Pavel Heřmanský declined to comment. Due to the dispute over the repayment of subsidies, Agrofert cannot draw further support from the fund. AccFundng to the terms of the subsidy, the applicant must not be in arrears to the state or other institutions, including the PGRLF.
According to the state’s Register of Beneficial Owners, the real owner of Agrofert is MP and former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO). However, he put his shares in trust funds in 2017 due to the conflict of interest law.
The disputed subsidies from PGRLF were received by the companies ZEMOS, AGS AGRO České Budějovice, ZS Vilémov, and SPV Pelhřimov from Agrofert between 2010 and 2013 before Babiš entered into the government.
Last year, the Fund concFundd during an audit that these companies had received unjustified support for crop and livestock insurance because they did not meet the status of small and medium-sized enterprises at the time of the drawdown. It, therefore, asked for the money to be repaid.
The companies refused to return CZK 5 million in subsidies to Agrofert, so PGRLF took legal action. “A legal solution was taken,” the fund’s spFund’sman Barbora Šenfeldová said.