Prague - The Gripen corruption scandal is being investigated again, and the Czech Republic has asked the USA to provide information.
In 2004, the Czech Republic leased fourteen JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets from the British-Swedish consortium BAE Systems. Eventually, the issue was looked into by Swedish, Czech and British police which came to the conclusion that the consortium indeed bribed some politicians, however no individual wrongdoers - either the bribers or the bribed - were identified.
Read more: FBI to probe Gripen scam
Recently, the US Department of Justice in Washington offered assistance. The offer was gladly accepted by Czech Supreme Public Prosecutor Renata Vesecká who asked the US side to provide further information and materials.
The Czech Republic cooperates with other states where the corruption case is investigated - Austria and Switzerland.
This is in spite of Czech police abandoning the case in November 2009 when the anti-corruption police stated that it will not prosecute anybody for the doubtful lease.
However, shortly after this announcement, Vesecká said that her office will look into the case once again. Eventually, the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office learned that it was illegal to stop the investigation, arguing that, among other things, the possibilities of international cooperation had not been fully exploited.
First (and only) arrest
A the beginning of this year, Austrian businessman Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, one of the chief lobbyist involved in the Gripen case, was arrested in Great Britain.
The British Serious Fraud Office informed that Mensdorff-Pouilly was accused of conspiracy to commit corruption. However, the court allowed him to be released on bail, and eventually the accusations against the businessman were dropped, as the BAE agreed with the court on extrajudicial settlement.
This means that in Great Britain, the investigation is over, and the country does not cooperate with the Czech side fully. In February 2010, Vesecká asked Great Britain's General Procurator to provide information on the case, however Vesecká received only publicly available data. Now it appears that the US Department of Justice will be much more cooperative.