10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Andrej Babis’

Andrej Babis is a well-known personality in the world of politics and business. Born in Bratislava, Slovakia, he is currently the prime minister of the Czech Republic and one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. Although his fame, wealth, and political influence often make headlines, there are many aspects of his life that remain relatively unknown to the public. In this article, we delve into ten things that you probably didn’t know about Andrej Babis.

1. Babis’s Early Life in Communist Czechoslovakia

Andrej Babis was born in Czechoslovakia, a communist state at the time of his birth in 1954. His father was a key official in the Communist Party, allowing the family to live relatively comfortably. He was even able to travel abroad, a privilege many ordinary citizens could not afford.

Babis’s upbringing was not representative of the average Czechoslovakian life during this period. Despite the country’s political and economic instability, his family’s connection to the Communist Party facilitated their privileged lifestyle and influenced his educational opportunities and career trajectory.

2. He’s Among the Wealthiest Men in the World

Though many people might know that Babis is wealthy, few realize just how much wealth he actually commands. According to Forbes, he is the second richest man in the Czech Republic and ranks among the 300 wealthiest individuals globally.

Primarily, his wealth originates from his conglomerate, Agrofert, which spans sectors including agriculture, food, and chemical industries. As a multi-billionaire, Babis’s fortune is incomparable within the Czech political landscape.

3. His Wife is an Award-winning Writer

Babis’s wife, Monika Babisova, is a philanthropist and an award-winning writer. She has written several children’s books and works relentlessly on societal contributions through their foundation, Babisových.

Despite Babis’s public life, his wife prefers a low-profile. Nonetheless, her works and contributions to society are a testament to her successful career and a boost to her husband’s popularity.

4. He Founded a ‘Czech Google’

In addition to his plethora of businesses, Babis founded a search engine called Jyxo. It was famously dubbed the ‘Czech Google’ in its early stages, and while it didn’t reach the same global acclaim as Google, it was popular and successful within the Czech Republic.

Jyxo was a demonstration of Babis’s technological leanings before he moved more regularly into the sphere of politics, offering a look into his entrepreneurial aptitude and versatility.

5. The StB Controversy

Babis was embroiled in a controversy in 2013, when evidence surfaced suggesting he was an informer for the Communist-era secret police, the StB. This revelation tarnished his image, despite his denial.

Throughout his political career, the StB scandal has been a recurring theme, often resurfacing, threatening his credibility and authenticity as a leader. Despite this, Babis has managed to stay popular and achieve resounding victories at the polls.

6. He’s of Slovak Origin

Although serving as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Babis was born in Bratislava, which is now the capital of Slovakia. As a result, he is of Slovak origin. He moved to the Czech Republic in the 1990s.

His Slovak origin isn’t a secret, but many may not realize this due to his strong association with the Czech Republic. His dual identity contributes to his unique perspective on Czech-Slovak relations and his governance.

7. The ‘Czech Trump’

Due to his billionaire status and no-nonsense political style, many have compared Babis to former American president, Donald Trump. Some even refer to him as the ‘Czech Trump.’

Babis, however, has rejected this comparison, stating he has no interest in building walls, a key facet of Trump’s administration. Yet, the comparison persists, underscoring his polarizing figure in Czech politics.

8. Yields Influence in Czech Media

Babis owns several influential media outlets in the Czech Republic, a fact that has led to concerns about conflicts of interest and media bias. These concerns have intensified over his tenure as Prime Minister.

Through this control over prominent news outlets, Babis has an influential sway in shaping public opinion, a power other Czech politicians do not possess.

9. The EU Subsidy Scandal

In 2018, Babis was accused of misusing EU subsidies for his personal gain, leading to massive public outcry and protests. Although he denied the allegations, this scandal remains one of the most significant controversies of his political career.

The EU subsidy scandal has led many to question his ethics and transparency. Despite this, Babis has continually dismissed the allegations as politically motivated.

10. The Second-richest Politician, Globally

Apart from being one of the wealthiest men in the world, Babis holds another financial distinction. According to Forbes, he is the second-richest politician globally, only falling short of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

By wealth alone, Babis’s influence extends far beyond Czech borders. His massive fortune is an undeniable force within global politics.

These ten aspects of Andrej Babis’s life reveal a multifaceted figure. From his origins in communist Czechoslovakia to his development into one of the wealthiest men on the planet, his life holds an array of unexpected insights.

Useful links:
Forbes Profile: Andrej Babis
Reuters Article: The ‘Czech Trump’
BBC News: Andrej Babis and the EU Subsidy Scandal