A Slovak court ruled on June 26 that Czech finance minister Andrej Babis did not collaborate with communist-era secret police, CTK news agency reported.
Babis, a Slovak-born billionaire, had been fighting allegations that he had been an informant of the communist-era secret service, something he always denied, and sued the Slovak Institute of National Memory demanding his name be erased from a list of secret police collaborators. The court said that there was no proof for the allegations and demanded Babis name to be removed from the list.
Under the Czech law, some civil servants must prove they were not members of the Communist Party, secret-police members or collaborators with the Communist regime that ruled Czechoslovakia which split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1993.
The court’s ruling is welcome news for the Czech coalition government that includes Babis’ ANO movement, the Social Democrats (CSSD) and Christian Democrats. The court’s ruling gives Babis’ opponents fewer reasons to criticize him although he is still under heavy criticism for gaining too much power for being both finance minister and owner of the country’s biggest food, agriculture and chemical group Agrofert that also owns two of the leading Czech daily newspapers. Babis, the second-richest Czech with a fortune estimated at about USD 2bn by Forbes, formed anti-corruption movement ANO in 2011 which surprisingly ranked second in the October snap elections and now is the most popular Czech party according to opinion polls.
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