Czech court opens trial of former defense minister on corruption charges

By bne IntelliNews January 20, 2014

The Prague Municipal Court opened on January 20 a trial against former defense minister Martin Bartak on corruption charges, CTK news agency reported. Bartak is accused of asking former US ambassador William Cabaniss in 2010 for a USD 5mn bribe to settle a dispute between truck maker Tatra and Prague that threatened a USD 150mn deal for Tatra. Cabaniss was chairman of Tatra’s supervisory board.

Bartak has denied any wrongdoing. He faces up to 12 year in prison if found guilty.

Corruption has long been rampant in the Czech Republic. According to a recent Gallup survey, 94% of the Czechs perceive corruption as widespread throughout government. The former centre-right government was toppled in June amid a bribery and spying scandal. The fall of the government led to early general elections in October where voters, tired of graft scandals, punished the mainstream parties opting for protest parties vowing to eliminate corruption. Centrist anti-corruption movement ANO ranked second in the October elections and has teamed up with election winner leftist Social Democrats (CSSD) and Christian Democrats to form the country’s next government.

The Czech Republic ranked 57th in Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, the lowest among the European Union’s three largest post-communist economies. The country shared the same spot with Croatia, Bahrain and Namibia.

Related Articles

Poland’s PKN Orlen launches offer to delist Czechia’s Unipetrol

Poland’s state-controlled oil and gas company PKN Orlen has launched an offer to take over Czech refiner Unipetrol, the Polish company said on December 13. PKN Orlen said it will go through with ... more

Petr Kellner agrees to buy Skoda Transportation for reported €400mn

Petr Kellner, Central Europe’s richest man, has agreed to buy Skoda Transportation, the Czech manufacturer of electric trains, trams and ... more

CEFC and Penta reported to be bidding together for CME

CEFC, the acquisitive Chinese energy group, and Penta Investments, the closely-held Slovak financial group, are bidding together for Time Warner’s stake in Central European Media Enterprises (CME), ... more