PRAGUE (Sputnik) – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has commented on the Pandora Papers claim that he allegedly used an offshore company to purchase a lavish chateau for $22 million, saying that all his actions were within the legal framework.
According to the Pandora Papers, the five-bedroom Chateau Bigaud on the French Riviera is registered to a subsidiary of one of the Czech companies indirectly owned by Babis. The papers allege that Babis moved $22 million through offshore companies to buy the lavish estate in 2009, while keeping his ownership secret.
“Well, it’s here. I was waiting for what they would pull on me just before the elections, so that they would harm me and influence the Czech elections”, Babis said on Twitter commenting on the allegations, adding “I have never done anything illegal or wrong, but that does not prevent them from trying to denigrate me again and influence the Czech parliamentary elections”.
The Czech legislative elections will take place on 8-9 October. The latest polls show the centrist ruling party ANO, headed by Babis, coming out on top, with 28-32 percent of prospective voters supporting it.
In early September, the European Commission warned Prague that it could suspend subsidies allocated for the country over a conflict of interests with Babis, who controls various companies and has allegedly funnelled the EU funding to his business.
On 3 October, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a new leak on the alleged financial secrets of over 35 current and former world leaders, as well as more than 330 politicians and officials from across the globe. ICIJ said the publication, called Pandora Papers in reference to the 2016 Panama Papers scandal, was based on a leak of 11.9 million files.