A Prague court on Monday acquitted former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of fraud charges in a $2 million case involving European Union subsidies.
A prosecutor requested a three-year suspended sentence and a fine of CZK 10 million for the populist billionaire. The prosecution still can appeal.
Babiš pleaded not guilty and repeatedly said the charges against him were politically motivated.
He wasn’t present at Prague’s Municipal Court on Monday. His former associate, Jana Nagyova, who signed the subsidy request, was also acquitted.
A man in the audience tried to disrupt the verdict by shouting that he had an objection and had to be escorted from the courtroom by guards.
Babiš had also clashed with the European Commission over concerns of conflict of interest concerning his businesses, which receive the bloc’s funds, during his term as premier.
The trial follows a seven-year investigation and is at the centre of media attention, especially in light of the fact that Mr. Babiš is one of the frontrunners in the presidential race.
Babis is considered a front-runner in Friday’s election, along with retired army Gen. Petr Pavel, former chairman of NATO’s military committee, and former university rector Danuse Nerudova.