Andrej Babiš

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Andrej Babiš
A Babiš Praha 2015.JPG
12th Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Assumed office
6 December 2017
President Miloš Zeman
Deputy Richard Brabec
Martin Stropnický
Preceded by Bohuslav Sobotka
First Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
In office
29 January 2014 – 24 May 2017
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Preceded by Jan Fischer
Succeeded by Richard Brabec
Minister of Finance
In office
29 January 2014 – 24 May 2017
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Preceded by Jan Fischer
Succeeded by Ivan Pilný
Leader of ANO 2011
Assumed office
11 May 2012
Preceded by Position established
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Assumed office
26 October 2013
Personal details
Born (1954-09-02) 2 September 1954 (age 63)
Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
(now Slovakia)
Citizenship Czech Republic, Slovakia[1]
Political party Communist Party (1980–1989)
ANO 2011 (2012–present)
Spouse(s) Beata Adamovičová (divorced)
Monika Babišová (2017–present)
Children 4
Residence Kramář's Villa
Alma mater University of Economics, Bratislava
Net worth US$4.04 billion (in 2017)[2]

Andrej Babiš (Czech pronunciation: [ˈandrɛj ˈbabɪʃ]; born 2 September 1954) is a Czech politician who has been the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic since December 2017. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and entrepreneur.

Babiš was born in Bratislava in what now is Slovakia, to a Slovak family but after the Velvet Revolution he resided to the Czech Republic. From January 2014 to May 2017 he served as Finance Minister of the Czech Republic and Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the economy until he was dismissed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka due to allegations of financial irregularities. Babiš has led ANO 2011 since founding it in 2012 as a protest movement against established politics. He has been a member of the Chamber of Deputies (MP) since 2013. Babiš, the second richest man in the Czech Republic with estimated net worth of about $4.04 billion according to Bloomberg,[2] is a former CEO and sole owner of the Agrofert group which owns one of the largest Czech newspapers Mladá fronta DNES and Lidové noviny.[3]

Andrej Babiš was sacked from the government by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on 24 May 2017 after a month-long coalition crisis that initially started with allegations that Babiš avoided paying taxes as CEO of Agrofert in 2012. Despite this, Babiš is one of the most popular politicians in the Czech Republic.[4][5][6][7]

During his tenure at the Ministry of Finance, Babiš introduced controversial policies such as electronic registration of sales, known as EET, proposed reverse charging of value-added tax, and VAT control statement for companies. He has been criticized for tightening regulations on small and medium-sized enterprises and sole proprietorship while turning a blind eye to big corporations and helping his own Agrofert holding.[8]

Following the 2017 legislative election which resulted in a hung parliament with no possible coalitions, Babiš was appointed Prime Minister on 6 December 2017 and a week later formed a minority government composed of ANO party members and independents. He became the oldest and wealthiest person ever to assume the premiership, as well as the first Prime Minister in the history of the Czech Republic to be from a different party than ODS or ČSSD. On 16 January 2018, his government lost motion of confidence vote (78 MPs for while 117 against) in the Chamber of Deputies and he resigned the following day starting new negotiations about the future government.

Babiš had been under investigation by both Czech Police and OLAF from 2015 to 2017 amid allegations that an anonymous company he controlled unlawfully received €2m subsidy from the European Union. In September 2017, he was stripped his parliamentary immunity after a police request in connection with the case and Babiš was formally charged on 9 October 2017.[9] OLAF concluded its investigation in December 2017 stating it has found irregularities and endorsed the steps taken by the Czech Police.[10] Due to his re-election in the 2017 election he regained his parliamentary immunity and the Chamber of Deputies voted again to lift it on 19 January 2018.[11]

Early life and career[edit]

Babiš was born on 2 September 1954 to a Slovak family in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (present-day Slovakia). His father, a diplomat and member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, represented Czechoslovakia during negotiations with the GATT at Geneva and as a consultant at the United Nations.[12][13] He is nephew of Ervin and Viera Scheibner.[14][15]

Babiš spent a part of his childhood abroad, being educated in Paris and Geneva.[16] Later, he studied at a gymnasium in Bratislava and continued at the University of Economics, where he studied international trade. Following his studies, he worked as an employee of the Slovak communist controlled international trade company, Petrimex, initially joining the organisation in 1978 when it was known by its previous name, Chemapol Bratislava, in 1985 he was appointed as the organisation's representative in Morocco.[17][16] Whilst working for Petrimex he also became a Communist Party member in 1980.[16] In addition to accusations that he was a "powerful agent" for the Czechoslovak secret state security service, StB, during the Communist era, he also has been accused of being a KGB officer in those years.[18]

He returned to Czechoslovakia from Morocco in 1991, after the Velvet Revolution,[16] and resided in the Czech Republic after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. He became managing director of Agrofert in 1993,[19] and gradually developed it into one of the largest companies in the country.[20] Agrofert had been a subsidiary of Petrimex while Babiš was on the Board. During his time on the Board, Agrofert was recapitalised quietly by an obscure Swiss entity, OFI (located in the same small Swiss town, Baar, where Marc Rich was located,[21]) which took control of Agrofert from Petrimex. Petrimex later fired Babiš and sued him, unsuccessfully, for allowing the firm's stake in Agrofert to be diluted.[citation needed] Soon thereafter, Babiš turned out to be the 100% owner of Agrofert.[22] He originally focused his business activities mainly on agriculture,[17] but in recent years he has acquired a large empire of media companies. This has brought him criticism from parties who believe he is amassing far too much power, since the media outlets he controls publish very sympathetic coverage of him.[23]

Business career[edit]

Headquarters of Agrofert in Chodov, Prague.

In January 1993, Babiš became managing director of a newly established Petrimex subsidiary operating in the Czech Republic, Agrofert.[24] He had suggested establishing Agrofert while he was a director at Petrimex, and he gradually assumed full control over the new company. The (foreign) source of the initial financing for his takeover of Agrofert from Petrimex was still undisclosed as of the start of 2016,[16] although Babiš has said that the money came from his Swiss "schoolmates".[25]

The company started as a wholesale and trading firm, but acquired various agricultural, food processing, and chemical companies later. In 2011 Agrofert Holding consisted of more than 230 companies,[26] mainly in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany. It is the fourth largest company in the Czech Republic by revenue exceeding CZK 117 billion. When he entered politics he resigned as a CEO, but remained sole owner until February 2017 when he was forced by the law to put his companies in trust to able to stay on as Minister of Finance.[26]

The history of Agrofert, detailed in a book by the journalist Tomáš Pergler, is closely linked to its control of the Czech petrochemicals industry. One reviewer of the book said the account "captures much of what has led Czechs to the conviction that they live in a corrupted, clientist country – and (paradoxically) then to vote for the ANO movement."[16]

In 2013, Agrofert purchased the company MAFRA, publisher of two of the biggest Czech newspapers Lidové noviny and Mladá fronta DNES newspapers and operating the Óčko television company.[27] Agrofert also owns Radio Impuls, the most listened to radio station in the Czech Republic (as of late 2014).[28][29]

Political career[edit]

Babiš founded his party, ANO 2011, "to fight corruption and other ills in the country's political system" in 2011.[30] Political scientists noted that Czech democracy is in decline, and that Andrej Babis is associated with that decline more than any other single person.[16]

I assure @ErikBest that I will never run for President. His work wouldn't have been fun for me and I neither have assumptions for it.

— Andrej Babiš on Twitter.[citation needed]

His political motives have been questioned after his company, Agrofert, purchased MAFRA, one of the largest and most influential publishing houses in the Czech Republic.[30] The party contested in Czech legislative election held in October 2013 and finished as second strongest gaining 47 seats (of 200) in the Chamber of Deputies. The American political consulting firm, Penn Schoen Berland, was credited with engineering the surprise victory.[31][32]

Babiš served as the Minister of Finance in the coalition government of Social Democrats, ANO, and Christian Democrats.[33]

Babiš has been linked closely to President Miloš Zeman since at least 2001, when Zeman was Prime Minister, and his business interests are alleged to have benefited from the association. In 2001, Zeman oversaw the sale of Unipetrol, a state-owned chemical company, to Babiš. Babiš pulled out of the sale, but later oversaw the sale of the firm to a Polish company. The sale was tainted by a massive bribery scandal, according to Polish reports, although Babis denies any bribes were paid.[23][34] The Unipetrol deal is cited often as evidence of a strong partnership between Babiš and Zeman that persists.[35]

Babiš with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz in February 2015

Babiš has a reputation for surrounding himself with senior police officers, security agents, and former Communist informers, to help him consolidate power.[22][23]

In May 2015, after the government's decision to extend reduced taxation of biofuels (a segment of the fuel market controlled significantly by companies in the Agrofert portfolio), the opposition decided to initiate a vote of no confidence against the cabinet.[36]

On 26 May 2015 while speaking to the Chamber of Deputies, Babiš said that he was forced to enter politics because of 'corrupted opposition' (referring to the ODS) that 'created him'.[37]

Andrej Babiš has been quoted many times as saying that he would like to be the next Prime Minister of the Czech Republic if ANO 2011 leads the government.[38]

In November 2016, Babiš criticized alleged links among CEFC China Energy, the Czech Social Democratic Party, and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka,[39] saying that CEFC's focus on private Czech companies "brings no yield to the Czech Republic."[40]

Prime Minister (2017–present)[edit]

Andrej Babiš during his first full day in office with Visegrad Group leaders on 14 December 2017 at the European Council.

Following the 2017 legislative election to the Chamber of Deputies where ANO 2011 won with 29% and received 78 out of 200 MPs Babiš was asked by President Miloš Zeman to form a government. On 27 October 2017, Babiš announced that he will try to form a minority government due to the refusal of the Civic Democratic Party and other established parties to form a coalition citing Babiš's criminal investigation regarding the EU subsidy fraud he was allegedly participating in. The SPD and Communist Party voiced their intention to join the government but were refused by Babiš.[41]

On 6 December 2017, Babiš was appointed the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic as the only incumbent head of government to be charged with a crime by the police and prosecutor. He is also the oldest and wealthiest person to assume the premiership, as well as the first Prime Minister to be from a party other than ODS and ČSSD. He assumed the office on 13 December 2017, when his government took full control of the executive government.

During his first days in office, he visited the European Council summit dealing with fiscal responsibilities, Brexit and migration,[42] spoke on the phone with new Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki regarding the invocation of the Article 7 by the European Commission,[43] and his government carried out personnel changes at the ministries, Czech Railways and Railway Infrastructure Administration.[44]

On 16 January 2018, Babiš's cabinet lost a vote of no confidence by 117 votes against to 78 for.[45]

In February 2018, his cabinet approved the European Fiscal Compact and sent it to the Chamber of Deputies for further approval[46] and proposed changes to the civil service act which has been subject of controversy since it was applied in 2015 by the previous government of Bohuslav Sobotka where Babiš served as Minister of Finance.[47]

Babiš administration has also continued to carry out personnel changes which was criticized by the opposition because the cabinet lost motion of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies and had to submit resignation to the President. Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch fired former Minister and head of the University Hospital in Ostrava Svatopluk Němeček and director of the Bulovka Hospital. Minister of Industry and Trade Tomáš Hüner and Minister of Interior Lubomír Metnar fired head of the CzechInvest and Czech Post, respectively.[48]


State Security Police (StB) agent[edit]

According to the documents of the Nation's Memory Institute in Slovakia, during the rule of the communist régime in then Czechoslovakia Babiš collaborated with the StB (State Security Police), under the code name agent Bureš. He denies the accusations and in 2012 sued the institute for defamation. In January 2018, the Bratislava regional court ruled definitively that Babiš was an StB agent. This final court case may not be appealed.[49][50]

Twelve unrelated cases that were investigated by StB from 1982 to 1985, are associated with the code name, Bureš, according to the Slovak Nation's Memory Institute.[51] Babiš appeared once at the court during the process.[52] The District Court in Bratislava issued a result on 26 June 2014 that states that there is a lack of evidence to put Andrej Babiš on a list of former intentional cooperators of StB.[53][better source needed] It means that Babiš cannot be considered as an intentional agent of StB.[54] Nation's Memory Institute announced it would appeal to higher court.[55] On 30 June 2015, Bratislava's County Court upheld the verdict.[56] However, in October 2017 Slovak Constitutional Court cancelled earlier court decisions ruling that Babiš was wrongly referred to as an agent of the former communist secret police and upheld the appeal of Slovak Nation's Memory Institute.[57] Babiš has been called a career communist who used his background with the StB (the Communist-era Czechoslovak secret police) to enrich himself and while being listed in the archives as Agent Bureš Babiš has denied that he was a StB collaborator—but his close associates still include Czech lawyer Libor Široký, now chairman of Agrofert's supervisory board. Široký is reportedly a former member of one of the StB units most closely linked to the Soviet KGB.[16] Critics who accuse him of KGB connections also point to his alleged support for the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, and his opposition to international sanctions against Russia. When a Lebanese arms dealer with alleged Russian connections was released by Czech authorities instead of being extradited to the United States, and it was revealed that every official involved in the release was an ANO party member or was associated with Babis, questions arose again about his allegiance to Russia.[58][59][60][61]

Opposition MP Miroslav Kalousek said it no longer matters what the Slovak Nation's Memory Institute has to say about Babiš, because his behaviour as a politician, and especially this tactic, has proven his StB training.[62]

In March 2015, Babiš condemned Russia's annexation of Crimea.[63] In October 2015 Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who specializes in Russian and Eastern European affairs, listed Babiš among several Eastern European leaders who are widely thought to be agents of influence for Putin's Russia. Writing in the Washington Post, she suggested that the old labels from Soviet Communist days, such as useful idiots and fellow travelers, are no longer adequate to describe Babis and his counterparts. To illustrate her point, she listed several quotes from each leader that sound very similar to each other and to the talking points that were broadcast at the same time by official Russian news sources.[64]

Babiš responded to Applebaum by claiming in a letter to the Washington Post that he has no friends in Russia and is an American ally. A Washington, D.C. based journalist challenged those claims by citing several examples of acts Babiš has taken that have furthered Russian policy goals.[65] One example was a Czech government loan guarantee to a Russian company with a record of defaults,[66] owned by a close friend of President Putin.[67] Another example was the Czech Finance Ministry's elaborate procedure taken to continue racing the thoroughbred horses prized by Ramzan Kadyrov, President of Chechnya and close ally of Putin, even though he is under international sanctions.[68] The final example was that Babis had disclosed in 2007 that his firm, Agrofert, was negotiating to purchase gas – Agrofert's main feedstock – from the Czech subsidiary of Gazprom instead of its then-current German supplier.[69]

In February 2016, on the day to remember the Communist takeover in 1948, hundreds of protesters opposed to Babiš gathered in Wenceslas Square to warn that the belief that Babiš is advancing an agenda that will take away Czech freedoms. They said that it is a quiet revolution, happening in gradual steps, but that it is going to rob Czechs of our freedom.[70]

European migrant crisis[edit]

As deputy prime minister Babiš called for NATO intervention against human trafficking in the Mediterranean.[71] After talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the migrant crisis issue Babiš said that "NATO is not interested in refugees, although Turkey, a NATO member, is their entrance gate to Europe and smugglers operate on Turkish territory".[72]

Babiš rejected the EU refugee quotas,[73] saying: "I will not accept refugee quotas [for the Czech Republic]. ... We must react to the needs and fears of the citizens of our country. We must guarantee the security of Czech citizens. Even if we are punished by sanctions."[74] After the 2016 Berlin attack he said: "Unfortunately... [Angela Merkel's open-door migration] policy is responsible for this dreadful act. It was she who let migrants enter Germany and the whole of Europe in uncontrolled waves, without papers, therefore without knowing who they really are."[75][76]

Corruption Inquiry[edit]

Babiš was accused by the public and his opposition for promoting his companies in government procurements. He also was the main reason why opposition parties ODS, TOP 09, and Dawn decided to call on vote against the government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, which was unsuccessful.[77]


Magazine Foreign Policy named him as Babisconi, which refers to his surname Babiš and the surname of former Italian oligarchy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, known for his political and oligarchy scandals.[78] Babiš replied that he is prepared to and will sue the magazine, but it was a threat he never carried out.[79]

Swiss L'Hebdo[edit]

In August 2015, the Swiss weekly L'Hebdo published an article, "Why do Czech Oligarchs Buy Unprofitable Media Outlets?" questioning why Czech oligarchs love to purchase the media outlets, and why they love Francophone Switzerland. The article heavily focused its attention on Babiš, and on his purchase of media outlets in the Czech Republic. The author pointed out that Babiš claimed to invest in MfD only for profits, but that he had no answer when told it was unprofitable investment. Now journalists for his papers are seen as doing his work.[80]

Conflicts of interest[edit]

Connections between companies in the AGROFERT portfolio

He has been criticized by media and opposition politicians for his alleged conflict of interest[81][82] as the Minister of Finance and owner of the companies subsidized by EU funding programmes. During a visit to the Czech Republic in March 2014, the German Member of the European Parliament Ingeborg Gräßle expressed concerns that a person with such a massive personal financial interest simultaneously being a leading representative of a state, cannot guarantee to the EU that its resources are properly distributed.[83] A 2014 article in the political newspaper Politico expressed the situation in stark terms: "The Czech Republic is now a paradox: a society disgusted with corruption has given huge power to a man whose business interests amount to the biggest conflict of interest in the country’s post-1989 history."[16]

On 5 June 2015, a retired senior American intelligence officer published an opinion article using Babiš as an example of a corrupt politician with conflicts of interest and probable ties to Russia. In the article, he wondered whether the recent American government investigations into bribery and corruption in FIFA may herald a more aggressive attempt to investigate other corrupt practices. The article pointed out that several investigations were launched by a team of police and prosecutor, who have launched questionable cases that do not hold up in court.[84] The article drew heavily on published sources in the media.


In June 2015, Babiš provoked controversy when a member of parliament, Ladislav Šincl, "criticised the Finance Ministry's changing position on a bill reducing commissions for life insurance mediators in the Chamber of Deputies and indicated that Babiš's business interests may be behind it."[85] On 17 June 2015, Babiš met with the ČSSD deputy Ladislav Šincl and accused him of corruption and taking bribes from businessman and senator Ivo Valenta, who owns hazard group Synot. According to the witnesses, Babiš brought to the meeting a folder marked with a yellow note named Šincl and started yelling at Šincl that he knows that Šincl takes bribes from Valenta and is corrupted. Later he moved on his family and former Šincl's jobs. This meeting took place after Sincl had suggested that the Ministry of Finance had changed its position on an insurance matter because the change would benefit Babiš's commercial interests.[86]

On 18 June 2015, Babiš admitted he had a folder with Šincl's name, but declined that he intimidated Šincl, saying, "It's not the materials. It's articles from media. Do media write lies? I just showed what media write, I think they do their job well. When I go to a meeting, I prepare myself so I know who I am dealing with." Babiš's coalition partners ČSSD (Šincl's party) and KDU-ČSL demanded an apology but Babiš refused to do so and claimed that Šincl had lied about him in the Parliament. Bohuslav Sobotka, Czech Prime Minister and the chairman of ČSSD called on a coalition meeting on the same day.[87]

Šincl said Babiš' tactic, of reading potentially embarrassing facts about him from a file marked with his name, was reminiscent of the tactics of the StB.[62][85][86] Miroslav Kalousek, the first deputy chairman of the opposition party TOP09 accused Babiš of using StB's practices. Babiš declined it.[88]

Lety camp controversial comments[edit]

On 1 September 2016, while visiting Varnsdorf, a city with large Romani minority presence Babiš said: "What those idiots [journalists] write in newspapers, that the camp in Lety was a concentration camp, that is a lie, it was a labor camp, people who didn't work ended up there."[89] Babiš was heavily criticized for his words by both coalition partners and opposition MPs calling on him to resign. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka posted a condemnation of the remarks on Facebook, saying that "between populism and extremism there is a thin line and Babiš crossed it" and asked him to "properly apologize and visit Lety to learn about history of our state."[citation needed]

Minister for Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Jiří Dienstbier called on Babiš to step down as Finance Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister.[90] The leaders of both opposition parties, Petr Fiala from ODS and Miroslav Kalousek from TOP 09 also called on Babiš to step down.[91]

Leaked tapes alleging meddling into independence of MF Dnes newspaper[edit]

On 1 May 2017, Twitter account @skupinasuman posted a tape of Babiš involved in private discussions with an unknown number of people while labelling Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek as an "idiot" and, among others, attacking investigative journalist Sabina Slonková. On 3 May 2017, a video on YouTube alleged that Andrej Babiš meddled in the independence of Mladá fronta DNES, the nation's largest quality newspaper by circulation, and owned by a trust of Babiš. In conversation with MF Dnes journalist Marek Přibil he discusses the date of publishing damaging stories about Minister of Interior Milan Chovanec and Minister of Health Miloslav Ludvík. On the tape, Babiš is recorded tasking Přibil with informing František Nachtigall, the director of strategic development, about when and how to publish the stories.

EU subsidies fraud[edit]

Babiš was accused of illegally obtaining €2 million in EU subsidies designated for small businesses by concealing his ownership of a farm and a convention center called "Storks Nest".[92] Czech police requested that his parliamentary immunity be lifted by the Lower House repeatedly in September and November 2017.[93] In both cases Lower House lifted the immunity and the police have initiated criminal proceedings.[94] He was accused from the crime for the alleged fraud (§212,Criminal Code, 2009) and for wilful damage of the financial interests of the European Union (§ 260, Criminal Code, 2009) in the criminal conspiracy (§ 89, Art.17, Crime Code (the Czechoslovakian Criminal Code,1961).[95]

European Anti-Fraud Office final report[edit]

This case was investigated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). The OLAF final report was delivered to the Czech officers of the Ministry of Finance at the end of the year 2017 (27.12.2017) .[96][97] Journalist Sabina Slonkova (server Neovlivnitelní.cz (Non-swayed)) described details from the results of OLAF to the public on January 3, 2018 and she concluded that OLAF's final report confirmed the investigation of the Police of the Czech Republic and prosecutors, specifically,that fraud was planned from the beginning.[98] The complete text of the OLAF final report was finally published by the server on January 11, 2018 (in Czech translation) with the comment defending the right to get true information made by Vladimir Piskacek, one of the directors of the Media house Economia AS, which publishes Hospodářské noviny.[99]/


Green Pearl 2013[edit]

Andrej Babiš was a winner of the antiecologic prize Green Pearl for the antiecologic sentences of the year 2013: "We all gave a shit about democracy once. How to explain that regarding the construction of a new highway, (someone has the right to talk about) a badger, an ecological terrorist and that each mayor wants an exit (to his town)."[100]

Personal life[edit]

Andrej Babiš with his then-partner (now wife) Monika in 2015

Andrej Babiš has four children. Two of his children come from his marriage to his ex-wife.[101][verification needed] Andrej is married to Monika with whom has two additional children.


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  97. ^ ( in English)
  98. ^ What is in the OLAF report (in Czech)
  99. ^ Complete text of OLAF Final Result in Czech translation
  100. ^ Winners of the anti-ecologic prizes (in Czech)
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External links[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
Jan Fischer
First Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Succeeded by
Richard Brabec
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Ivan Pilný
Preceded by
Bohuslav Sobotka
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Party political offices
New political party Leader of ANO 2011