EU Court dismisses lawsuit filed by Ex-PM Babis’ Agrofert

Agrofert holding is controlled by former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO, Renew), who is currently leading the main opposition party in the country. [EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED BADRA]

The EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit filed by Czech agrochemical giant Agrofert against the European Parliament.

Agrofert holding is controlled by former Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš (ANO, Renew), who is currently leading the main opposition party in the country.

The company demanded to be provided with the final audit report of the European Commission, which concluded that, due to Babiš’s links to Agrofert and the company receiving EU funds, there was a conflict of interest. Agrofert also wanted to obtain a letter the EU sent Babiš on the issue.

The two documents led the European Parliament to vote for a resolution criticising Babiš for controlling Agrofert, one of the largest beneficiaries of EU funding in the Czech Republic.

“Another famous defeat of Andrej Babiš in the EU! When we made it clear in the European Parliament two years ago that he had a conflict of interest, his Agrofert filed a bullying lawsuit against the Parliament and started demanding in court the audit documents we had,” said conservative Czech EU lawmaker Tomáš Zdechovský (EPP).

In its ruling, the court found that the European Parliament adequately justified why the letter had to be kept secret and that the Commission had already published part of the audit report, meaning there was no reason for the company to ask the European Parliament for it.

Babiš officially owned Agrofert, a chemical, agricultural, food and media group, before transferring it to trust funds in 2017 to comply with the Czech conflict of interest law. According to the audit’s conclusions, Babis, in his position as prime minister, maintained a decisive influence on Agrofert despite the trust fund transfer.

In June 2021, MEPs passed a resolution criticising Babiš for his conflicts of interest, pointing to him deciding on EU funds while at the same time controlling  Agrofert.

Babis and Agrofert have dismissed the allegations, calling the MEPs politically biased.

(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)

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