Czech prosecutors want immunity for PM Babis to be lifted

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech prosecutors on Wednesday asked the newly-elected lower house of Parliament to lift Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s immunity from prosecution over alleged fraud involving European Union subsidies.

If the lawmakers give their approval, it would allow the prosecution to decide whether Babis should be indicted for his alleged involvement in the $2-million fraud.

Czech police have repeatedly recommended Babis should be indicted.

Prague’s prosecution office announced the move on Wednesday. The request came immediately after the new house convened this week for the first time following October’s election.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the prosecution might finish its evaluation of the case.

The allegations involve a farm that received EU subsidies after its ownership was transferred from the Babis-owned Agrofert conglomerate of around 250 companies to Babis’ family members. The subsidies were meant for medium-size and small businesses and Agrofert wouldn’t have been eligible for them.

Later, Agrofert again took ownership of the farm.

Babis, a populist billionaire, denies any wrongdoing, saying the allegations were politically motivated.

Babis’ political ANO (YES) movement was defeated in the election. A coalition of five parties have signed to deal to rule together this week.

Babis, who has to resign after the first parliamentary session is over, will end up in opposition.

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