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State attorney wants seven years for Czech lobbyist Dalík

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Prague, Feb 1 (CTK) – State attorney Jan Koran wants seven years for Czech lobbyist Marek Dalik for corruption in the purchase of Pandur armoured vehicles for the military and Dalik should also pay 22 million crowns, while he pleads not guilty.

Dalik’s lawyer wants him to be acquitted.

The court is to issue the verdict on February 2.

The police investigated Dalik, adviser to former prime minister Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS), based on the testimony of Stephan Szcuecs, former employee of Steyr firm, who said Dalik demanded 18 million euros for continuation of the Pandurs’ purchase.

According to the file, he asked the bribe at an informal meeting in a Prague restaurant in November 2007.

He claimed that he has close ties with representatives o the Czech government and that he can influence their decision-making, which was not true, Koran said.

Dalik allegedly also pretended having influence on the order alone.

The Prague Municipal Court has dealt with the case for one and a half years.

Koran dismissed Dalik´s testimony as false. He said the testimony given by Martin Bartak, former deputy defence minister, who was also charged in a case involving corruption in the purchase of Tatra lorries for the military, as expedient and trustworthy.

Bartak was acquitted in the Tatra case.

Koran said Topolanek (PM in 2006-09) showed a rhetoric exercise in which he veiled objective facts in subjective feelings.

Koran based his verdict on the testimony of the crown witness, Szcuecs, supported by other foreign armament dealers and U.S. ambassadors who indicated that the bribe was needed for the contract for the Czech military to continue.

Koran said their testimonies were supported by written documents.

Dalik excused himself from the court’s proceedings on Monday and today.

His lawyer Tomas Sokol said he will demand that Dalik be acquitted.

Sokol said it has not been proved that Dalik committed the crime. “I has never been proved that such a demand, offer, appeal or whatever one may call it was made in the restaurant,” he said about the suspected bribery.

Dalik faces up to ten years in prison for attempted fraud. However, the court said previously Dalik’s action may be classified bribe acceptance, which carries up to 12 years in prison, or indirect bribery, with up to three years in prison.

According to the state attorney, Dalik asked for an equivalent of half a billion crowns in exchange for aid in negotiating about the purchase of Pandurs from the Austrian firm Steyr for the Czech military in 2007. Dalik eventually did not get any money.

The purchase of Pandurs costing 20.8 billion crowns was approved by the left-wing government of Jiri Paroubek in 2006. At the end of 2007, Topolanek’s government said Steyr violated the conditions of the purchase and it withdrew from it. In 2008 Topolanek’s government put up a new tender, within which the Czech army bought 107 Pandur armoured vehicles for 14.4 billion crowns in 2009.

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