Schuster pays ransom to South American native kidnappers

President Rudolf Schuster, opening an exhibition of his private photographs of a holiday in Brazil in 2000, claimed to have paid part of a ransom demand he claims was made when he was kidnapped by Amazon natives.

The president, who has referred to the curious alleged kidnapping in the past, said he had sent his kidnappers "clothing and gasoline", although not the "several million dollars, Mercedes car and I don't know what else they wanted then.

"I sent them what I could," he told exhibition visitors.

The president also related an incident in which he claimed to have been chased by native Indians in cars. "We were all scared out of our wits. Finally we were able to breathe easy - we managed to escape."

Schuster said that being president was only slightly safer than holidaying in the jungle. "Now and then I get a letter from someone who wants to shoot me and so on," he said.

The president is noted for his occasionally unorthodox approach to his office, and recently aroused criticism for having a medical examination facility installed in the presidential palace. The move was apparently linked to his near death from a ruptured colon in 2001, and to his resulting distrust of Slovak public hospitals.

Compiled by Tom Nicholson from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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