Final Word from Thursday, June 21, 2018

Transparency Int. found proof in a Slovak registry that Andrej Babiš is a beneficial owner of Agrofert, which it said has legal ramifications with regard to conflicts of interest and subsidy policy. Babiš responded that it's nonsense. He left Agrofert in 2014, he said, and divested the company under Lex Babiš. Someone's lying, right? Wrong. They're both telling the truth. The problem is the concept of "controlling person." Babiš set up his trusts so that he is a beneficiary, but not a 25% "controlling person" of Agrofert under the Czech conflict-of-interest law. This allows Agrofert to keep getting government contracts and subsidies. Yet Transparency Int. is right too, because the EU and OECD apply their rules to both beneficial owners and controlling persons. Officials in Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Moscow, Paris and Washington of course know that Babiš is a walking conflict of interest. What should interest Czechs most is who is going to use this against Babiš, and to what end. [Czech Republic obmyšlený International Slovakia]

Glossary of difficult words

walking (conflict of interest, encyclopedia, etc.) - someone who so represents something that he or she seems to be carrying it around with himself or herself;

beneficiary/beneficial owner - a person who derives advantage from something, esp. a trust, will, or life-insurance policy;

ramification - a complex or unwelcome consequence of an action or event;

to divest - to sell or rid oneself of (a business interest or investment);

end - goal or desired result.


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