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American CEO of Czech Truck Maker Detained in Graft Case

Aug. 21, 2012 - 08:13AM   |  
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PRAGUE — American Ronald Adams, the chief executive and owner of Czech-based truck maker Tatra, has denied graft allegations linked to a Czech defense contract for which he has been detained, Tatra said Aug. 21.

The case involves a 2008-2009 military contract for 588 Tatra trucks valued at 2.7 billion koruna (109 million euros, $135 million).

Adams was detained Aug. 20 after former Czech defense minister Martin Bartak, accused in 2010 of attempted corruption linked to the same contract, testified against him, a Tatra company spokesman told AFP.

“Within the framework of an investigation into the case in which Mr. Bartak is charged with corruption, Bartak said that Mr. Adams offered him a bribe,” Vladimir Bystrov told AFP.

“Tatra is confident that the ongoing investigation launched on the basis of the testimony of persons already charged with corruption is without foundation,” Bystrov said.

A decision on whether Adams will be remanded in custody is to be made within 48 hours of Adams’ detention, he added.

“It is evident that the principle objective is to put in doubt the credibility of Mr. Adams as a witness and to intimidate him along with all other persons who dare testify openly about corruption at the highest levels in the Czech state,” a Tatra statement said Tuesday.

Bartak, 45, served as deputy Czech defense minister in 2006-08 and defense minister in the ex-communist NATO state from 2009-10.

In 2010, he was accused of attempted corruption based on the testimony of former U.S. ambassador William J. Cabaniss who served in Prague from 2003-05.

In Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perception Index, the Czech Republic ranked 57th alongside Namibia and Saudi Arabia on the list of 183 countries, topped by squeaky clean New Zealand and ending with Somalia.

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