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Former Czech defense minister acquitted by court

Wednesday - 5/14/2014, 9:30am  ET

PRAGUE (AP) -- A court in the Czech capital has acquitted a former defense minister of bribery charges in a high-profile trial.

Martin Bartak has been charged after a former U.S. ambassador accused him of asking for a bribe. He faced up to eight years in prison if convicted.

Court spokeswoman Marketa Puci said a judge in Prague's Municipal Court ruled Wednesday there was insufficient evidence. The state prosecutor immediately appealed.

The case dates to 2010 when William Cabaniss accused Bartak of asking for $5 million in 2008 to solve a problem with a supplier that threatened a $150 million deal for Czech truckmaker Tatra AS.

Cabaniss, who was chairman of Tatra's supervisory board, was the American ambassador to Prague from 2003 to 2006.

Bartak has denied any wrongdoing.


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