Andrej Babiš

Article

October 28, 2021

Andrej Babiš, born September 2, 1954 in Bratislava, is a Czech businessman and statesman, President of the Government since 2017. During his career in the business world, he founded and managed the agro-food group Agrofert. Become a billionaire, he is considered the second richest man in the Czech Republic. In 2012, he entered politics by founding the Action of Discontented Citizens (ANO), a liberal and populist center-right formation denouncing corruption and the archaism of political personnel. After his party obtained a significant result in the parliamentary elections of 2013, he struck a deal with the Social Democrats and became Vice-President of the Government and Minister of Finance of the Sobotka government. His positions and the controversies associated with his career in business circles contributed to his dismissal from the government a few months before the 2017 legislative elections. In this election, the ANO became the leading party in the country, which led President Miloš Zeman to appoint him as head of government. A few days after being implicated in the Pandora Papers, he narrowly lost the legislative elections of 2021 to the centrist coalitions Ensemble and Pirates and mayors.

Family

Origins

Born in Bratislava, now in Slovakia, he is the son of a Czechoslovak diplomat of Slovak origin representing his country for the GATT negotiations.

Private and family life

In the 1970s, he married Beata Adamičová. They have two children: Adriana (born 1979) and Andrej (born 1982). Since the 1990s, he has lived with Monika Herodesová (b.1974), whom he married in 2017. They have two children together: Vivien and Frederik.

Professional life

Training

He graduated from Bratislava University of Economics where he studied international business.

Career

After graduating in 1978, he joined the Slovak (communist-controlled) international trading company Chemapol Bratislava which later became Petrimex. In 1985, he was appointed representative of the company in Morocco. He joined the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSČ) in 1980. He was accused during the 1980s of being both an important agent of State Security (StB, the political police of the Czechoslovak regime) and in connection with the KGB. During the fall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe, he was in charge of the supply of strategic goods. After the Velvet Revolution, Babiš left Morocco, then moved to Czechia once Czechoslovakia dissolved. He therefore used his privileged position and his contacts to take possession of the Slovak national agrochemical company Petrimex. Subsequently, he bought out other state enterprises that were sold off and dumped during the privatization process. His biographer Jakub Patocka remarks that he "notably built his fortune by using European subsidies in his favor".

Agrofert

Foundation

Director of Petrimex, he initiated the creation of Agrofert, a new subsidiary of Petrimex in the Czech Republic, of which he became the Executive Director. Agrofert is recapitalized by OFI, a public limited company based in Baar, Switzerland. Petrimex subsequently dismissed Babiš and brought unsuccessful legal proceedings against him for having allowed Petrimex to dissolve in Agrofert. Soon after, Babiš becomes 100% owner of Agrofert. The source of the initial funding for Babiš's takeover bid on Agrofert at Petrimex's expense is still not known, with Babiš claiming the money came from his former Swiss classmates.

Development

Babiš develops Agrofert, until it becomes one of the largest companies in the country. Beginning as

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