Former Czech PM loses case on secret police collaborating

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — A Slovak court has dismissed a lawsuit by former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis against allegations that he collaborated with Czechoslovakia’s communist-era secret police.

The Slovak-born Babis was suing Slovakia’s Institute of the Nation’s Memory, which holds parts of his secret police files following the division of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

Some of the files were destroyed, but the institute said those that still exist contain evidence that Babis was an agent under the code name “Bures” from 1982. Babis, who was not present at the court on Tuesday, has denied that.

The verdict is final.

Bratislava’s regional court originally rejected the lawsuit in 2018, but the country’s Constitutional Court ordered a retrial, saying the institute could not be sued in the case and the respondent should be the Slovak Interior Ministry.

Babis repeated Tuesday that he “never cooperated” with the secret police, known as StB, and vowed to continue defending himself in courts.

Babis, a billionaire, is currently in opposition after his populist ANO centrist movement lost last year’s parliamentary election. He’s expected to announce whether he will run to be the Czech Republic’s president in the election for the largely ceremonial post early next year.

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