Two agricultural enterprises of the Úsovsko company are affiliated with the former Minister of Agriculture Jiří Milk (non-partisan, he worked with ANO in the government). Three companies of Agrofert belong to the trusts of former Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO). Company owned by agrobaron Gabriel Večeřa. and a fruit company of Čerozfrucht, one of the largest fruit distributors in Central Europe.
A new review of subsidies for Agrofert and former Minister’s Milk companies has begun. He says, “There was no deception.”
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This is what the list of audited companies and their projects, which were targeted by auditors of the European Commission in the audit at the beginning of last year, look like. After these agricultural projects, which have a turnover of billions, but attract money intended for small farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture wanted the money back.
“At the beginning of July, the Department of Agriculture sent all seven major affected companies an invitation to return subsidies voluntarily,” ministry spokesman Wojciech Bailey described the latest steps taken by the department.
Two companies responded to the circuit’s call. Pomona Těšetice, which belongs to Gabriel Vee, returned about 1.4 million kroner. Then RBQ groups falling under erozfrucht returned more than 11.3 million kroner.
“Out of the total amount provided of 24.5 million kroner, 12.7 million kroner has already been voluntarily returned, which is more than half of the total amount provided,” Bello explained.
The server iROZHLAS.cz asked the management of the two companies why they decided to refund the money. For example, Pomona Těšetice’s manager, Ivo Pokorný, denied any wrongdoing last year.
“He underwent a thorough review and two years later they came up with the idea that there was something wrong. We don’t agree with that. Why should it be left to small businesses? I don’t understand it. This is a political cliché. We live or live as good as everyone else. I don’t understand why to be punished.”
But now the questions sent remain unanswered. RBQ Group company representatives did not respond in the same way.
You can see an overview of the companies from which the department has requested the return of fruit subsidies in the following table. The iROZHLAS.cz server list was provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. Final property information added by the editors:
uprooting apple trees
The remaining five companies refused to return the money. “The remaining large companies have expressed the opinion that they will not comply with the call,” spokesman Bailey said. These are the subsidiaries of Milk and fall under Agrofert.
Small and Medium Enterprises
According to the 2003 European Commission definition, a small and medium enterprise (SME) is a company that employs less than 250 employees and whose annual turnover does not exceed 50 million euros (about 1.3 billion kroner). If the company exceeds the specified ceilings, it enters the protection period. It does not lose its status as an SME until after two years. However, this does not apply in the event of a change in the ownership structure, when the company merges with a larger group. Then it loses its status as an SME right on the day of the transaction.
“Our companies received all the support in accordance with the rules announced by the governing bodies. Agrofert spokesperson, Pavel Heymansky, explained that no administrative authority or court reached a conclusion in any action that we had violated the terms of the support announced by the Ministry of Agriculture or that we should return any something “.
Former Minister Milik and the owner of Úsovsko did not respond to questions currently sent. But he has already told the editors that there was no fraud, which is why he does not intend to return the money. “On the app, we mentioned that we are a big company, and they agreed to support, and we set up the groups. Then someone wakes up and says we have no right. So let them come here and pick the apple trees and take them to Prague,” Milik explained last year.
the only way
The office, currently headed by Zdeněk Nekula (KDU-ČSL), had no other option to recover the funds than to claim the companies. “It follows from the judgments of the Prague Municipal Court that subsidies for large companies cannot be recovered,” Bailey explained.
The ministry cannot recover the subsidy paid, the court wrote. Thus registered the concern of former Minister Milka
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He recalled the ruling last August, when Jiří Milk’s subsidiary Úsovsko Agro appealed to the Prague Municipal Court. After an internal review, the Department of Agriculture had earlier decided to withdraw the subsidy. But Milk did not agree, and although the court dismissed his claim, he actually succeeded in his subsidy enforcement case.
“The property rights of the plaintiff are not affected by the contested decision, because the benefits provided to the plaintiff have already been paid to the plaintiff, and the contested decision in no way leads to the plaintiff’s obligation to return the benefit,” reads the judgment of the Prague Municipal Court, which was brought to the attention of the iROZHLAS server .cz a year ago.
What will the ministry do now to restore support? “Further actions related to the recovery of support will be determined on the basis of the European Commission’s response to the response sent, or on the basis of the results of the official European Commission investigation (Proofreading – Ed. Note.)described Bello’s spokesperson.
Ministry officials reported to Brussels at the end of the holiday of their partial success – that is, they managed to get almost half of the package of subsidies paid to large agricultural enterprises.
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