A man convicted of blackmailing Coca-Cola has had his sentence reduced. Anastas Stanev yesterday saw his sentence cut from eight to six years.

According to the court, Stanev first contacted the Czech branch of Coca-Cola in January this year threatening to poison its products unless the company met his demands. He contacted Coca-Cola by email and mobile phone, upping his initial demand of 2m crowns (US$76,000) to 5m and then 10m.

Stanev was caught when he mistakenly called the company from a mobile phone in his name.

At the original trial Stanev denied the charge, saying in his defence that the Coca-Cola employee who spoke with him on the telephone could not say for sure that the voice he had heard was his.

At Prague High Court yesterday the state attorney said that Stanev's eight-year sentence was too severe, since it was never proven that he had had any poison, but that the risk to society caused by the crime was still high. The judge supported the verdict by pointing out that Stanev only attempted the extortion and had no previous criminal record.