Social Democrat leader asks for probe into multi-billion army deal


Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek asked the Czech government on Wednesday to investigate a multi-billion purchase of 107 Austrian armoured vehicles for the Czech army. The daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported that in 2002, the producer of the Pandur vehicles, the Austrian firm Steyr, was ready to hire a lobbyist to arrange meetings with Czech politicians. The deal, worth 10.7 billion crowns, or nearly 567 million US dollar, was concluded three years later. The Austrian company in the end did not hire the lobbyist. However, the Czech Republic ended up paying more then three times the price per one vehicle than Portugal, which ordered the same model at around the same time.