News 31 Jan 12

Romania Jails Former PM For Corruption

Adrian Nastase, prime minister from 2000 to 2004, has been sentenced to two years in prison for corruption but is expected to appeal the verdict.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest

Former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase on Monday was sentenced to two years in prison for siphoning-off state funds worth around €1.6 million to fund his 2004 election campaign.

The court’s decision can be appealed. The trial has lasted over three years and involved 900 witnesses and 48 court hearings.

Nastase was accused of having financed his election campaigns with funds collected for a symposium organized by a state institution for which businessmen had to pay a participation feee. The fees went to four companies controlled by members of Nastase’s entourage.

Nastase, 62, was prime minister from December 2000 to December 2004 and stood as the Social Democratic Party, PSD, candidate in the 2004 presidential election. He was defeated by the centre-right candidate, Traian Basescu.

Nastase has faced other corruption allegations.  He is alleged to have secured an artificially low price to build a luxury home in return for giving a top ministerial post to the head of a construction company.

In December, the Supreme Court found him not guilty of bribing a representative of the national anti-money laundering office in December 2000 to block an investigation into his family.

Prosecutors had said Nastase promoted an official to the top of the anti-laundering agency in 2006 in an attempt to stop an investigation into a bank account worth US $400,000 belonging to his wife.

Nastase denied all the charges.

Romania is still considered one of the most corrupt states in the European Union and has made limited progress in fighting corruption and organised crime since it joined the EU in 2007. Bucharest has drawn repeated criticism from the European Commission for its failure to tackle corruption.

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