At its session on Wednesday 19 May 2021, the European Parliament was discussing the alleged conflict of interests of the founder and former shareholder of our company AGROFERT, current Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr Andrej Babiš. The debate followed the recently published almost two-year-old audit report of the European Commission, which addressed the alleged conflict of interest.
Although we were directly affected by this debate, we have no way of commenting on the subject in the European Parliament.
We are convinced that there is no conflict of interest. Andrej Babiš has not managed, commanded, controlled us or acted in our favour for several years. Furthermore, our former shareholder fulfilled everything that Czech laws imposed on him. In our opinion, the conclusions reached by the auditors are incorrect and unfounded. We oppose allegations in the media that we allegedly illegally draw subsidies and illegally participate in public procurement. On the contrary, we proceed exactly in accordance with the law and we are convinced that this fact will be eventually proven.
We see the debate and the forthcoming vote at the European Parliament only as an effort by certain Czech opposition politicians to involve Czech domestic political debates in the European Parliament and thus grossly interfere with the business environment in the Czech Republic, freedom to conduct business, free market, economic competition and fair business conditions.
AGROFERT is a major Central European employer, operating mainly in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Hungary. In all countries where the company operates, it employs a total of approximately 32,000 people. With 22,000 employees in the Czech Republic, it is one of the largest private employers.
We believe that AGROFERT, as a major employer, will not be in any way at disadvantage vis-à-vis its competitors due to the political interests of certain groups. Such an act would endanger not only our business, but especially the jobs of the thousands of employees in Central Europe whom we employ.
Such a “punishment” would be even more absurd with respect to the fact that there is no evidence that the AGROFERT Group companies used the EU funds contrary to their objectives. On the contrary, subsidies granted to the AGROFERT companies were used in the past, inter alia, to strengthen the sustainable management of natural resources, implement climate-related measures, carry out research activities and strengthen more balanced rural development.
We firmly believe in maintaining free economic competition and the impartiality of the still unfinished audit procedure with the Czech Republic.
The Board of Directors of AGROFERT, a.s.