Extort try case in MRT deal hits a snag
MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation is still studying what proper charges to file against those implicated in the Metro Rail Transit controversy (MRT) when no money actually changed hands, according to a source in the bureau privy to the investigation.
“All were allegations of extortion, but there was no actual money involved so what charges to file are still being studied,’’ the source told Philippine Daily Inquirer but asked not to be named for not having been authorized to speak to reporters.
The source also confirmed that Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josef Rychtar submitted a signed affidavit that linked MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III to the supposed $30 million extortion.
The source said that Vitangcol in his sworn statement stated that he never attended a dinner with Rychtar “He maintained he only met the ambassador in his office.’’
The source also said that Rychtar had agreed to waive his immunity in principle, “but had yet to get clearance from his government.’’
“We just want him to categorically state his capacity as complainant, a diplomat or an official of Inekon,’’ the source added.
Rychtar has accused Vitangcol of attempting to extort $30 million from Czech train coach builder Inekon Group in July 2012 through Wilson de Vera, a member of President Aquino’s Liberal Party who lost the mayoral race in Calasiao town, Pangasinan province, in last year’s midterm elections.
The ambassador said Vitangcol and De Vera asked Inekon to pay $30 million to win the contract for 48 coaches for the MRT.
Inekon CEO and chair Josef Husek confirmed the extortion attempt and submitted sworn statements to the NBI.