Pandora Papers Train Spotlight on Czech PMReading Time: < 1 minutes
Czech prime minister Andrej Babis is one of the most prominent active politicians featured in the so-called Pandora Papers, a massive trove of information from offshore services firms totaling 11.9 million secret files – published on 3 October by the International Consortium of Investigate Journalists. According to the revelations, Babis, who is currently campaigning for re-election in this weekend’s parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic, has moved USD 22 million through offshore companies to buy a lavish estate on the French Riviera in 2009, keeping the ownership secret. The five bedroom Chateau Bigaued belongs to a subsidiary of one of the Czech companies indirectly owned by Babis. The property did not appear in declarations which Babis signed prior to entering into politics.
Media observers recall that the Czech prime minister began his political foray in 2011 with the promise of fighting tax evasion and increasing transparency. He served as minister of finance of the Czech government from that time until 2014, and was elected prime minister in 2017. His ANO party is currently leading in the polls, but revelations from the Pandora papers damage its standing – as well as the prime minister’s.
Babis is not the only active politician from Central Europe who is implicated by the Pandora Papers. It has also been revealed that Serbia’s finance minister Sinisa Mali, who is a close ally of president Aleksandar Vucic, owns 23 luxury apartments worth USD 6 million on the Black Sea coast, through offshore companies. Mali previously denied their ownership.