Monday, October 09, 2017

HSBC Czechia cooperated in Babiš's subsidy fraud

The second wealthiest Czech citizen and a former Slovak communist police agent Mr Andrej Babiš is believed to earn some 27% in the parliamentary elections two weeks from now – with his Führer-style "ANO" ("Yes", an acronym for "The Alliance of the Pissed-Off Citizens") movement. He's the most likely "future prime minister" according to most people (well, I, for one, have big doubts about it, but maybe I am just too optimistic). But his apparent criminal record is rich and diverse. He's been stripped of his immunity as a lawmaker and he should receive the official charges (subsidy fraud; damaging of the financial interests of the EU) from the police today or in a few days. (Update, Monday 3:50 pm: as I predicted, Babiš just received the charges from the police today. He immediately started some complaints and appeals.)

The Šuman Group is an unknown individual or group funnily named after Julius Šuman, a former officer at the communist secret police who acted as Babiš' boss throughout the 1980s. They have released numerous recordings showing that Babiš has done many bad things as well as some juicy things. The Šuman Group was silent for a few months but we got something yesterday.

You should look at the recent Šuman GIFs because they're in English. They're the internal documents and correspondence of the HSBC Holdings, a large British bank that has a Czech subsidiary. The Czech subsidiary isn't one of the banks that every regular Czech knows or opens his account in. It's mostly a bank looking for big fish – like Babiš – and I guess that all the loans are checked in London.

The documents make it spectacularly clear that the Stork Nest Farm was a "core project for Mr Andrej Babiš, the [only] stockholder of the Agrofert Group" which is built to become a "training/conference centre for the Agrofert Group". Lots of details about the financial conditions, financial plans, signatures by employees of Agrofert, and many other details may be found in the documents.

The Šuman Group also adds a screenshot of an e-mail meant to claim that the documents were sent by an angry employee of HSBC Czechia who could no longer tolerate the crazy situation in which everyone at HSBC knows that the bank has cooperated at Babiš' subsidy fraud but everyone pretends otherwise (in front of the Czech and EU subsidy authorities, the farm has claimed to be owned by some anonymous small people and be a small business in order to get a $2 million EU subsidy for small firms in the tourism industry, if you don't know what I am talking about).

Now, I have virtually no doubt that the HSBC documents are genuine. I have many reasons for this near-certainty. First, they look genuine and it can't be quite trivial to create this 10-page-long fake document about a loan. If the documents were fake, it would be rather likely that some kind of amateurism would show up and I would be able to see it. Second, if the content of the documents were untrue, Babiš would already tell us what the "real data" from the HSBC documents said and/or showed the real documents because it would be in his interests.

Third, it sounds totally normal that someone simply has access to quite some secret information around Babiš. This is dangerous and I am sure that the people behind The Šuman Group are violating some laws by themselves. It shouldn't happen in the ideal world. But they're really trying to save Czechia from someone who violates all these rights in the same way and who is much more dangerous than The Šuman Group, at least so far I believe it. He hasn't denied the veracity of the documents – just announced that he would like to sue The Šuman Group for the leaks.

The HSBC documents make it clear – just like the accompanying e-mail – that Babiš has gotten a very special treatment from HSBC, as an ultimate VIP. All the HSBC employees were clearly expected to lick his rectum 24 hours a day. Just like he needed to pretend to be a "small company" in front of the EU bureaus in order to be eligible for the subsidy, he wanted to show "he was as powerful as possible" in order to get a nice treatment from the bank, HSBC, that lent him some money. His capital was used as a collateral, it was almost certainly an extremely safe loan for the bank.

A detail I am slightly skeptical about is the accompanying letter – suggesting that an employee of HSBC sent those internal bank documents. I personally find it somewhat more likely that The Šuman Group actually got these documents – and perhaps most of the previous recordings and explosive data about Babiš – from someone who is close to the police, intelligence, or investigators. I find it somewhat plausible that Mr Ivan Langer, a former right-wing interior minister, could be behind the group. Please, this is not an accusation, just a vague description of the kind of rumors that I find plausible. The theory that "all these things were simply obtained through someone who has this kind of access" seems like the by far most economical explanation of all the facts. If the documents and recordings were fake, their creators would have to have lots of talents and I just find it much easier to find some friend among the investigators etc. Or be one, for that matter.

It just seems to make more sense to me that these things are being leaked by someone at the "police and intelligence environment" and that these HSBC banking documents have been available to the police for quite some time. It seems sensible to assume that the ownership of these documents – which clearly show that Babiš did own the farm at all times, even when it was getting the subsidy and the following years – by the police was a key reason why police seemed so self-confident when it asked the Parliament to strip Babiš and his #2, Mr Faltýnek of their immunity.

Now, it may look unlikely that all the court proceedings will be completed before the elections – which take place during the next weekend, in less than two weeks from now. So maybe the people around The Šuman Group just want to harm Babiš's result in the elections now, while seeing the risk that he will be able to win the elections, get a new immunity, and perhaps become a prime minister and organize a purge within the police that will expel all the people who realize that he's a dangerous criminal. The attempts to "hurt his image" doesn't work. The clearer it becomes that he's a real jerk, the more enthusiastically he seems to be loved by his stupid and immoral sheep.

At any rate, the proposition that Babiš has committed the subsidy fraud – and given the magnitude it was the most serious type of it that is rewarded by 5-12 years in prison – seems obviously clear to me. Babiš just owned the farm and he got the millions based on his documents claiming that the owner was someone else. So it was a clear usage of fake and untrue documents and that's what the subsidy fraud means (in 2009 when he got the subsidy, this criminal activity was illegal but considered as a special case of credit fraud).

It seems utterly implausible that the actual explanation is anything else. No one – neither Babiš nor anyone else – has even presented a remotely plausible alternative explanation about the ownership that would imply that it wasn't a subsidy fraud. So I don't see how a sensible person could even start to doubt or question the claim that Babiš has committed the subsidy fraud. It makes no sense. We see absolutely everything we need to see. He's seen on videos boasting that the farm was the best idea of his life. We see the same claims made in the HSBC document that gave him tens of millions of dollars as a loan. He has basically admitted that it was related to his family – although his recent claims were that the farm was a project for his daughters to play with horses. Well, it's not the case according to the HSBC papers. The farm was always intended as a training and conference center for his Agrofert Holding.

I am pretty much terrified by the purges in the police that would be done to basically promote him to an owner of the Czech Republic. Some foreign media present him as "our Trump" and a great opponent of the EU or immigration and other things. Perhaps, these descriptions are OK. He has a populist style that may be said to be "analogous" to Trump's from some viewpoint. His wealth is the same as Trump's. And he is against the Euro and immigration etc. But these policy things are only OK because he just copies the majority opinion in the Czech society on almost all questions. He doesn't really give a damn about political ideas. These attitudes are just tools for him to become even more powerful and link his economic and political power more than anyone on our territory has linked them in our whole history.

We don't really need a Babiš to oppose the immigration quotas. Virtually all parties and politicians oppose them – with a possible exception of TOP 09 that was shown to stand at 4.9% which would mean "remains out of the Parliament" (which I would find terrible because e.g. Kalousek is a very talented politician who is bright on many issues except for his Euronaivism, Russophobia, some love for mass migration etc.). We don't need Babiš for any other reasons that are quoted as his advantages (or disadvantages, by the PC press). We're facing a guy who may continue in the anti-migration policies and become more Euroskeptic than the current Czech government. But he will also increase taxes, increase the monitoring of the entrepreneurs and citizens by the government, centralize power much more than it is now, he will be building a contemporary flavor of authoritarian communism. In almost all of these policy things, he's the opposite of Donald Trump. And aside from policies and (missing) ideologies, I simply do care whether the prime minister is a criminal and this guy demonstrably is one.

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