Czech Republic: former PM Babiš on trial
Former Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš has been on trial in Prague since Monday, accused of EU subsidies fraud. In 2008 the business magnate allegedly helped investors obtain around two million in EU subsidies to construct a wellness and conference centre. Babiš denies any wrongdoing and says the case against him is politically motivated.
Robust institutions prevent oligarchies
Hospodářské noviny is pleased to note that the judiciary is functioning as it should:
“The fact that Babiš is on trial is the best news for the functioning of the rule of law. After all, it is quite clear that influence does not automatically mean protection from the law. When one of the most powerful and richest people winds up in court despite all efforts to the contrary, it proves that not everything can be bought in today's Czech Republic. In this sense, one can say that politically we are not an oligarchy but a truly advanced liberal democracy with robust institutions.”
This is not unfair treatment
Denik N rejects Babiš's argument that the trial against him is politically motivated:
“He is right in saying that he would not be on trial if he had not entered politics. His scam would probably never have been uncovered because no one would have seen any particular reason to investigate one of thousands of subsidy cases. But anyone who enters the highest level of politics, and does so claiming to be a fighter against embezzlement, must reckon with their own past also being subjected to close scrutiny just in case there's any embezzlement to be found there.”