Czech Republic: Andrej Babiš indicted
After years of painstaking investigations, charges were officially brought against former Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš in Prague on Monday. He faces up to ten years in prison for allegedly claiming EU subsidies for the construction of the Stork's Nest conference and recreation centre for his business empire Agrofert. The reactions in Czech media vary.
High time for legal clarification
Aktuálně.cz complains about how long the investigation has taken:
“If this was a case of a complicated, diabolically premeditated plan for large-scale corruption, the delays in the Stork's Nest case would be understandable. But all that happened here is that a billionaire felt like building himself a holiday home. And because he didn't want to pay for it on his own, he tried to get hold of European money, and eventually succeeded. It wasn't even top secret. ... It's an indictment of the state when a relatively simple case drags on for so long and is only resolved after a change of government.”
A case of oligarch journalism
Hospodářské noviny is dismayed at how media outlets that belong to Babiš are reporting on the indictment:
“While all Czech news servers had a report about the indictment against Babiš on their websites on Monday afternoon, Babiš's iDnes hid the information behind advertisements, tenth down on the news listing, combined with the headline 'Fabricated trial'. This was supposed to tell readers what they should think and conveyed the impression that Babiš was basically a dissident. This is oligarch journalism at its peak.”