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Former Czech defense minister stands trial

January 20, 2014

PRAGUE (AP) — A high-profile corruption trial has opened in the Czech capital against the country’s former defense minister after a former U.S. ambassador accused him of asking for a bribe.

Martin Bartak has been charged with bribery and faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted by Prague’s Municipal Court, where the trial began on Monday.

The case dates to 2010 when the former U.S. ambassador, 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 ambassador to Prague from 2003 to 2006, was chairman of Tatra’s supervisory board.

Bartak has denied any wrongdoing.

It is not clear when a verdict can be expected.

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