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Babiš wins case against ÚPN

CZECH Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has won his lawsuit against the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN) over his alleged cooperation with the Czechoslovak communist-era secret police (ŠtB).

CZECH Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has won his lawsuit against the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN) over his alleged cooperation with the Czechoslovak communist-era secret police (ŠtB).

Despite having 12 files submitted by the ÚPN, which reconstructed and document his work for the ŠtB under the code name “Bureš”, the court accepted the testimony of former agent Július Šuman who claimed he was lying about recruiting Babiš for cooperation in November 1982, the Sme daily reported in its June 27 issue. The court ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove that Babiš was an ŠtB collaborator or agent.

The ÚPN will appeal the verdict, the TASR newswire wrote.

Babiš launched his lawsuit against the ÚPN in January 2012, but a series of delays pushed the proceedings back to January 2013, and it continued in April, when also Šuman and another former ŠtB agent František Hakáč were present.

Šuman told the court that 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 back in April.

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.

“It is not possible to determine a deliberate cooperation of the proposer as an agent from the documentary evidence, as it is not clear,” said Judge Zuzana Doricová, as quoted by Sme. According to her, the proof submitted by the ÚPN only prove that there really was an agent codenamed Bureš.

The report, prepared and signed by Šuman, was the main evidence against Babiš. Other important documents from his file, including an agreement with cooperation, were shredded in December 1989, Sme wrote.

Except for Šuman, also another former ŠtB agent Andrej Kuľha, who took Bureš’s file from Šuman, said in January that the file was fictive. According to him, the ŠtB was registering many agents without them knowing about cooperation. When asked by the lawyer of the ÚPN to name some, he could not name any, according to Sme.

The judge in the case did not accept the claims of the ÚPN that the court cannot consider the claims of former ŠtB agents trustworthy. She said that the witnesses were told before the proceeding that they have to tell the truth and hide nothing.

ÚPN lawyer Pavol Poláček said that the authenticity and trustworthiness of the documents the ÚPN submitted is proved by more than 40 signatures of various ŠtB agents who saw them. This means that Babiš met with some ŠtB employees at least 17 times and gave them information which they considered reliable, he claimed, as reported by Sme.

Source: Sme, SITA, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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