Court clears ex-defence minister accused of soliciting large bribe

Prague Municipal Court has cleared a former minister of defence, Martin Barták, of bribe-taking in connection with the purchase of Tatra all-terrain vehicles for the Czech army. A co-defendant, armaments manufacturer Michal Smrž, was cleared of attempted fraud. Mr. Barták had been accused of asking the chairman of Tatra’s supervisory board for a bribe of USD 5 million to smooth a deal to buy nearly 600 all-terrain vehicles in 2008 while he was deputy minister of defence. The supervisory board chairman was William Cabannis, a former US ambassador to Prague.