Former Romanian prime minister has received a sentence of four years in jail for taking bribes, the latest in several charges made against him in the poor country that is striving to keep up with the European Union’s standards of fighting corruption.
Adrian Nastase, 63, was found guilty on Monday of receiving bribes totalling $858,000 from construction entrepreneur Irina Jianu in exchange for appointing her to head the public works department.
The sentence will send Nastase back to prison just months after he finished serving a previous term, also on corruption charges. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said the cases against him were all politically motivated.
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 us the first premier to be put behind bars since the collapse of communism in 1989.He was 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.