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Former ŠtB agents back Babiš in court

TWO WITNESSES in the court proceeding related to allegations that Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš once served as an agent for the communist-era secret police (ŠtB) have not confirmed that Babiš knew about the cooperation. The Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN), which is being sued by Babiš, who claims he was wrongly registered as an agent, has not commented on the testimonies, saying that the proceeding is still underway, the Sme daily reported in its April 15 issue.

TWO WITNESSES in the court proceeding related to allegations that Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš once served as an agent for the communist-era secret police (ŠtB) have not confirmed that Babiš knew about the cooperation. The Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN), which is being sued by Babiš, who claims he was wrongly registered as an agent, has not commented on the testimonies, saying that the proceeding is still underway, the Sme daily reported in its April 15 issue.

Former ŠtB agent Július Šuman, who created the file codenamed Bureš (the name alleged to have been used for Babiš), described the circumstances under which the file was made. He said he does not know Babiš personally. In 1980 he created the file, but stressed that Babiš knew nothing about it and that he did not contact him, nor ask him to meet, as reported by the SITA newswire.

At the end of 1982, Šuman’s supervisor asked him for the file, which he returned after three or four weeks. The superior added a report to the file, claiming that Babiš agreed to cooperate. Šuman said that he at first refused to sign the report, but he was ordered to sign it. He then stored the file in a safe and later gave it to his superior. According to him, the report confirming Babiš’s cooperation was not true, SITA wrote.

“Nobody has seen the pledge of Babiš, nor me,” Šuman said, as quoted by SITA. He added that he remembers this case because he was forced to sign something for which he was not present.

A second witness, former ŠtB agent František Hakáč, also told the court he does not know Babiš. Hakáč was supposed to have received the Bureš file in 1983 and was allegedly in contact with Babiš. He also said that since suffering a stroke, he remembers virtually nothing from that time, Sme reported.

When asked whether he would be willing to have his signature in the file verified, he said he would not, Sme wrote.

During the proceeding, the ÚPN submitted another file mentioning Bureš, titled Ekron. It previously published the contents of three other documents.

Babiš has denied these allegations. He told journalists in January that the person who wrote the file on him did so without his knowing about it. 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 gathered.

“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 in January, as quoted by SITA.

The proceeding will continue on May 15.

Source: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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