Facing Jail, Romanian Ex-PM Tries to Kill Himself

Adrian Nastase is now in hospital, after a two-year jail sentence for siphoning off state funds apparently drove him to try to take his own life.Adrian Nastase is now in hospital, after a two-year jail sentence for siphoning off state funds apparently drove him to try to take his own life.Nastase was found guilty of using around 1.6 million euro from the state budget to finance his 2004 presidential campaign.

Five other defendants tried in the same case were sentenced to five or six years in prison.

Following the court decision, at around midnight police went to Nastase’s home to take him into custody.

But an ambulance soon followed them and Nastase was taken to an hospital. An official report from the police confirmed that he had tried to kill himself.

Nastase, who will be 62 on Friday, has insisted that the case is politically motivated. His lawyer said the sentence will be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.

Nastase 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, who is President of Romania today.

He has been involved in court proceedings for several years and his case is widely seen as a test of Romania’s ability to conduct high-level corruption trials.

Nastase has faced other corruption allegations. In April he was given a three-year suspended jail sentence for blackmail but cleared of corruption in a case that dragged on for over six years.

Nastase was accused of accepting around 630,000 euro from the manager of a state institution, Irina Jianu, in exchange for appointing her head of the Public Works Department.

Prosecutors claimed the money was spent on goods imported from China and construction work at Nastase’s two homes. Nastase was found not guilty of these charges but was was found guilty of blackmailing Romania’s former consul in Hong Kong, Ioan Paun, who had to conceal the goods in the embassy building.

Last December he was cleared in another corruption case, concerning a 300,000 euro inheritance from his wife’s aunt.

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.

But in recent months, the number of high-ranking officials sentenced for graft has increased significantly.

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