Czech Republic: Court acquits ex-Prime Minister Andrej Babis of embezzling EU funds


Babis, who was not present in court, has denied the charges

A Czech court has acquitted former prime minister Andrej Babis of fraud charges, boosting the billionaire businessman’s candidacy in the upcoming presidential election, as forecasts put him among the front-runners.

The prosecutor had asked for a suspended prison sentence and a fine for Babis on charges of embezzling 2 million euros in European funds to build an entertainment and conference center near the capital Prague.

Babis, who was not present in court, has denied the charges.

In his closing statement in court on Friday, Babis said the case was politically motivated.

“The whole case is made up, it’s a political issue, no evidence was presented,” he told reporters as he left the court.

With the support of his defected ANO party, Andrej Babis is seeking to be the winner of the presidential election and oust his occasional political ally Milos Zeman, whose second term as president ends in March.

None of the presidential candidates are expected to win from the first round of the presidential election that takes place on Friday and Saturday. The second round will be a duel between the top two candidates and will be held on January 27 and 28.


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