PROFILE-Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis

by Reuters
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 16:50 GMT

PRAGUE, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Position: Czech Republic's Finance Minister Incumbent: Andrej Babis Date of Birth: Sept. 2, 1954 Term: Appointed on Jan. 29, 2014 Key Facts: - Slovak-born Babis is one of the richest businessmen in the Czech Republic, worth some $2 billion according to Forbes magazine. Over the past two decades, Babis has built an empire spanning hundreds of firms in the farming, food processing, chemicals and media sectors.

He has stepped down as the executive chief of his main firm, Agrofert, but retained its ownership, which may put him in potential conflicts of interest as the head of tax and financial oversight authorities.

- Babis started his ANO party in 2011 with promises to weed out corruption in public tenders and among the established political parties.

- He aims to improve tax collection but refuses tax hikes advocated by Prime Minster Bohuslav Sobotka's Social Democrats.

- Babis was a member of the totalitarian Communist Party before the 1989 democratic "Velvet Revolution". He is also disputing in court the authenticity of documents showing he was an informer of the commmunist-era secret police while he worked for a foreign trade firm in the 1980s.

- Babis says he aims to eliminate the budget deficit, but the coalition agreement of the three government parties calls for budget gaps to be around 3 percent of gross domestic product in the coming years. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka)

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