On Tuesday, State Prosecutor Jaroslav Šaroch sent a request to the Chamber of Deputies for the extradition of the outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) for criminal prosecution related to the Čapí Hnízdo case. This was stated on Wednesday by the spokesman of the Prague City Prosecutor’s Office, Aleš Cimbala. Babiš’s prosecution was suspended because he regained his parliamentary mandate and thus immunity in the parliamentary elections in early October.
“On November 9, a request was sent to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic from the Municipal State Prosecutor’s Office in Prague to consent to the prosecution of the MP in a matter referred to in the media as the Čapí hnízdo case,” Cimbala said. The extradition request must be examined by the parliament’s Mandate and Immunity Committee. It is expected to be set up by the House on Wednesday. On Monday, MPs decided that the committee would have 16 members and headed by ANO MP and former Justice Minister Helena Válková.
According to the constitution, neither a deputy nor a senator can be prosecuted without the chamber’s consent of which they are a member. The Chamber of Deputies has already handed Babiš over for prosecution twice in the past, first in September 2017 and then in January 2018 in a new composition after the parliamentary elections in which Babiš was re-elected.
The police launched the prosecution of Babiš and others in the case in late 2017. The Farma Čapí Hnízdo company, under the name ZZN Agro Pelhrimov, was originally a part of Agrofert. In December 2007, Čapí Hnízdo became a joint-stock company with bearer shares. In the summer of 2008, it received a 50-million-crown subsidy as part of a small and medium-sized businesses program that it would never have reached as part of Agrofert. After a couple of years of observing the subsidy conditions, Čapí Hnízdo returned to Agrofert.
In addition to Babiš, his former adviser Jana Nagyová (formerly Mayerová) is also accused in the case surrounding a CZK 50 million subsidy for the construction of the Čapí Hnízdo recreational and conference complex. The police are investigating them for damaging the financial interests of the European Union and for subsidy fraud. Both have long denied guilt.
The police initially closed their investigation into the case at the end of May and proposed indicating both Babiš and Nagyová. At the end of August, Šaroch decided to return the case to them for further investigation. He did so mainly so that investigators could complete their questioning of witnesses, including the prime minister’s son, Andrej Babiš.