(Bloomberg) -- The top Czech prosecutor ordered the probe into fraud allegations against Prime Minister Andrej Babis to be reopened, raising the prospect that the billionaire may be tried in court.
Pavel Zeman overturned a decision by his subordinates in Prague, who dropped charges against the premier that alleged he illegally obtained European Union funds for one of his businesses. While Babis denies wrongdoing, the probe has tainted his two years in power.
Babis, popular for his increases in pensions and anti-immigrant stance, is a divisive figure in the nation of 10.7 million. While the fraud and conflict-of-interest allegations sparked the largest anti-government demonstrations since the fall of communism 30 years ago, he remains the nation’s most popular politician and his party leads all polls.
It’s not clear how the probe will evolve after the prosecutor’s override as President Milos Zeman has pledged to use his right to stop any further prosecution of his ally.
Babis, one of the richest Czechs with a net worth estimated at $2.2 billion, is also under pressure from the EU.
The bloc’s executive arm found him in conflict of interest because he has maintained influence over his businesses while helping to decide on the distribution of funds that they may receive from the bloc, according to a report on the audit leaked by Czech media this week. He denies wrongdoing and his government has pledged to challenge the findings.
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