Final Word from Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Czech lawmakers who own illicit assets through offshore companies they set up years ago risk exposure because of the global crackdown on such structures, but the most prescient of them will be untouchable, because they own their assets through a proxy. Not even trust funds seemed safe to them, so the smartest politicians used a trusted lawyer who remains completely hidden. In contrast, Andrej Babiš made it publicly known that he got help in taking over Agrofert from trusted schoolmates. Yet after all these years, it's still not clear who they were or where he got the money to buy them out. Babiš announced yesterday that he has asked two of the Big Four to do an audit of his finances. Unless such an audit goes back to the beginning and explains where all the money came from, it will be a whitewash. You might call it conspiracy to commit asset-declaration evasion. It's not a crime, but it's not something a professional should be proud of either. [Czech Republic illegal corruption]

Glossary of difficult words

illicit - forbidden by law, rules, or custom;

crackdown - a series of severe measures to restrict undesirable or illegal people or behavior;

prescient - having foreknowledge or foresight;

proxy - a person authorized to act on behalf of another;

whitewash - a deliberate attempt to conceal unpleasant or incriminating facts about a person or organization in order to protect his, her or its reputation.

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