Prague - Czech lobbyist Marek Dalik asked for a bribe in the case of the Pandur armoured personnel carriers (APCs) according to another witness, Victor Jackovich, from the Steyr armament firm, weekly Respekt writes in its issue to be out on Monday.
Police say Dalik, who was a close aide of former prime minister Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS), made an attempt at a fraud when he asked for half a billion crowns in exchange for aid in negotiating about the purchase of Pandurs from the Austrian firm Steyer for the Czech military in 2007.
According to earlier information, Jackovich testifies against Dalik.
Respket writes, however, that former diplomat Jackovich spoke about the alleged request for a bribe with Czech investigators for the trial transcript only in his questioning in the United States in early August.
"Jackovich confirmed now that Dalik really asked for money," Respekt quotes a source acquainted with the investigation, as saying.
Jackovich was questioned by detective Jiri Mazanek, from the Czech anti-corruption police, and Jan Koran, from the High State Attorney´s Office in Prague, in the office of the Washington branch of FBI, Respekt writes.
It writes that Jackovich was present at the meeting at which Dalik allegedly asked for money in 2007 and that immediately after it he took notes on the meeting.
The meeting was also attended by John Ulrich, another Steyr chief, Steyr´s Austrian manager Stephan Szuecs, Slovak military lobbyist Miroslav Vyboh and then Czech deputy defence minister Martin Bartak, Respekt writes.
The demand for a bribe was confirmed to the detectives previously by Szuecs and indirectly also by Ulrich, while Vyboh said he did not hear anything suspicious, Respekt writes.
The decision on the purchase of 107 Pandurs for 14.4 billion crowns was made by Topolanek´s government in the spring of 2009 and the contract with Steyr was signed shortly afterwards.
A Czech-Austrian team started to take interest in the deal more than one year later. In May 2011 media published the testimony of Szuecs who allegedly confirmed that Dalik asked for a bribe. Dalik has repeatedly dismissed this.
Police say Dalik promised to help negotiate the order while he could influence anything in fact. That is why he is not prosecuted over corruption, but fraud. He faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty.