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Allegedly overpriced Czech purchase of CASAs sent to court

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Prague, Dec 15 (CTK) – State attorneys have sent the case of the suspicious purchase of CASA planes for the Czech military, in which former defence minister Vlasta Parkanova and ex-head of the ministerial armament section Jiri Stanek are involved, to court, state attorney Jan Koran announced on the Internet on Tuesday.

The purchase of the aircraft allegedly caused a damage of 818.8 million crowns to the state.

The state attorneys have charged Parkanova and Stanek with breach of trust and abuse of power. They face up to ten years in prison if found guilty.

The decision to buy CASA planes for more than 3.5 billion crowns was made by the rightist government of Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) in 2009.

Experts as well as media criticised the purchase from the very beginning as overpriced.

It was also said the decision to buy the aircraft was due to a strong pressure by influential officials at the Defence Ministry who were pushing for the purchase of the Spanish planes against the will of some military representatives.

Detectives say Parkanova did not have an independent opinion of the planes price worked out. Originally, investigators put the damage at 658 million crowns.

Parkanova is convinced that she did not commit any crime. She said previously she considers her prosecution unsubstantiated. Stanek also dismisses any wrongdoing.

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