Tatra US head admits offering CZK 20 million to Czechs after beeing secretly recorded

24 August 2012

Prague, Aug 23 (CTK) – U.S. Ronald Adams, head of the Czech branch of the Tatra lorry maker, admitted his words about a 20-million bribe over a supply of off-road vehicles for the Czech military but he was merely bluffing to test the situation, he said in an interview for Thursday’s issue of Lidove noviny (LN).

Martin Bartak, former Czech deputy PM and former defence minister, accused Adams of having offered a bribe in connection with the military order.

However, Bartak is himself accused of corruption in the case.

The Czech police accused Adams of corruption in state procurement on Tuesday. A court refused to remand him on custody on Wednesday.

Adams, who had so far refused to comment on details of the case referring to the ongoing investigation, described behind the scenes of the talks between Tatra and the Czech state representatives in the interview for LN.

He admitted that he really mentioned 20 million (crowns) but he said he was merely testing the situation and he did no really mean it.

In February 2008 Adams led several negotiations with influential Czech arms dealer and lobbyist Michal Smrz who allegedly conveyed to him a message from high-ranking state officials asking for a bribe that would secure a smooth completion of the supply of 588 off-road vehicles for 2.7 billion crowns, Adams told the paper.

He said he was talking to Smrz to find out who from the government had sent him to ask for money from the Tatra management.

Tatra did not want to lose the order without finding out who was behind it, he added.

Adams explained that this was why he asked what they could do for Tatra if he paid them 20 million, and whether they could arrange a meeting with the the prime minister Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) for the sum. Adams thought Topolanek might be behind it, he told LN.

He was speaking so to make Smrz give him some information, Adams described the meeting in Brno’s Holiday Inn hotel that he had secretly recorded.

The recording of the conversation between Adams and Smrz is part of the investigation files, LN recalls.