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Babiš confronts ÚPN in court

Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, a billionaire businessman of Slovak origin, appeared in court on January 30 as part of proceedings related to allegations he once served as an agent for the communist-era secret police (ŠtB). Babiš is suing the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN), which maintains files from the era including several that name Babiš as an agent.

Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, a billionaire businessman of Slovak origin, appeared in court on January 30 as part of proceedings related to allegations he once served as an agent for the communist-era secret police (ŠtB). Babiš is suing the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN), which maintains files from the era including several that name Babiš as an agent.

The ÚPN presented five new files that name Babiš (with the code-name Bureš) as a member of the ŠtB. One former secret service agent testifited that files were created by his ŠtB colleague, without Babiš’s knowledge, the Sme daily reported in its January 31 issue.

“Many [people] doubt the credibility of the documents; it is very dangerous,” said Ondrej Krajňák, head of the ÚPN, as quoted by Sme.

Krajňák however added that they still continue in reconstruction of the ŠtB files.

The ÚPN previously published the content of three documents. One of them, the Eye file, pertains to Alexej Novák, an employee of the company ZOZO Interal Bratislava, who was suspected of economic criminal activities. The second contained information about a rented flat where ŠtB agents and their collaborators would meet, Sme wrote in October 2013. The ÚPN used both files as evidence in the proceeding dealing with the businessman’s criminal complaint against the ÚPN, in which he says they have unlawfully registered him as an ŠtB agent.

Babiš denies the allegations. He told the journalists that it is clear that the person who wrote the file about him did it without him knowing about it, the SITA newswire reported.

According to him, when he was working for the foreign trade section, he and his colleagues had to write reports from their calls with foreign partners and from business trips, and submit them to the special unit where all ŠtB agents were gathering.

“It is manipulated since the beginning, I have never signed anything, I have done nothing; I had emigrations in my family, they blackmailed me and I am on some list,” Babiš said, as quoted by SITA.

Babiš’ claims were supported by Andrej Kuľha, former ŠtB member, who said that the whole file was chaotic as it missed basic checks and that many documents were missing in it, as reported by SITA.

Also security analyst Milan Žitný told the court that based on his analysis of the ŠtB file it was made without Babiš knowing about it, SITA reported.

The case was adjourned until April 14.

Source: Sme, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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