Former Romanian PM sentenced to jail for corruption
BUCHAREST - Agence France-PresseFormer Romanian prime minister Adrian Nastase was sentenced to four years in jail on Monday for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to appoint a businesswoman to a senior government post.
Nastase, 63, was found guilty of receiving bribes totalling 630,000 euros ($858,000) from construction entrepreneur Irina Jianu in exchange for appointing her to head the public works department.
Prosecutors said Jianu bankrolled several shopping sprees in China for Nastase and his wife Daniela between 2002 and 2004.
A dozen shipping containers were needed to transport the goods, which included sculpted furniture, bronze statuettes and even plastic vegetables, the court heard.
Jianu also paid for restoration on two villas belonging to the former Social Democrat prime minister, who headed the government between 2000 and 2004.
Nastase was also found guilty of blackmailing Romania's former consul in Hong Kong, who organised the shopping spree.
He threatened to leak the allegation that the diplomat was an undercover secret service agent, prosecutors said.
Nastase had not been present in court for the hearing, held just 10 months after he was released from a previous jail term. However, he handed himself into police on Monday and was immediately handcuffed and driven to the Rahova prison, on the outskirts of Bucharest.
The sentence "is awful, extremely unjust, a dirty revenge," Nastase told reporters before being jailed.
"He was jailed and placed in quarantine for 21 days, in keeping with legislation," prison spokesperson Gabriela Livadariu told AFP.
Nastase had been handed a two-year prison sentence in June 2012 for syphoning off funds totalling 1.5 million euros for his 2004 election campaign, and released in March 2013 after serving two-thirds of his term.
The Balkan country, which joined the EU in 2007, is closely monitored by the European Commission over its efforts to step up the fight against corruption.