Prague, May 31 (CTK) – The Prague High Court sentenced lobbyist Marek Dalik to four years in prison for corruption accompanying the purchase of the Pandur armoured personnel carriers for the Czech army on Tuesday.

The appeals court lowered the original verdict, which imposed a five-year prison sentence on Dalik. However, Dalik must pay four million crowns. If he does not pay the penalty, he will spend two more years in prison.

The verdict has taken effect. Dalik, adviser to former prime minister Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS), pleads not guilty.

In 2011, Dalik demanded 18 million euros for the continuation of the purchase of Pandurs from the maker of the vehicles, the Austrian firm Steyr. The Czech police started dealing with the case based on the testimony of former Steyr employee Stephan Szcuecs.

Dalik asked for the bribe at an informal meeting in a Prague restaurant in November 2007. He pretended having close ties with representatives of the Czech government and being able to influence their decision-making on the purchase of the military vehicles, which was not true. He eventually did not get any money.

The lower level court concluded that a bribe was demanded at the meeting and that Dalik asked for it by someone else’s order, but the court did not say who was behind it.

The appeals court said Dalik did not assist in bribe taking, but committed an attempted fraud.

The purchase of Pandurs worth 20.8 billion crowns was approved by the government of Jiri Paroubek (then Social Democrats, CSSD) in 2006. In late 2007, Topolanek’s government withdrew from the deal over a breach of the contractual conditions by the supplier, Steyr. Half a year later, the government approved a new deal, the purchase of 107 Pandurs worth 14.4 billion crowns.