Babis, Andrej

Babiš, Andrej,

1954–, Czech political leader and business executive, b. Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now in Slovakia), grad. Univ. of Economics, Bratislava. He was a petrochemical executive for Chemapol Bratislava (1978–85) and Petrimex (1985–1993), then established (1993) a Petrimex trading subsidiary, Agrofert. The Agrofert group, of which Babiš subsequently secured ownership, has grown to include holdings in the agriculture, food processing, and chemical industries, and owns multiple media outlets, including publishers, newspapers, and radio and television stations. A former member of the Czech Communist party (1980–89), Babiš founded a new political party, ANO 2011, in 2011, and was elected to the Czech Chamber of Deputies in 2013. He was (2014–17) minister of finance and first deputy prime minister in a Social Democratic–led government. After ANO won a plurality in 2017 he was appointed prime minister, but his minority government lost (2018) a confidence vote. After he was reappointed prime minister, he formed (2018) a minority coalition government with the Social Democrats. One of the wealthiest men in the Czech Republic, he has been accused of using his political connections for personal gain, and has been investigated for possible fraud in winning European Union subsidies for a company he owned.