Romanian ex-PM attempts suicide

2012-06-21 10:10
AP

AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bucharest - Romania's former prime minister Adrian Nastase attempted suicide on Wednesday, hours after the Supreme Court threw out his appeal against a two-year jail sentence over corruption.

Medical sources said Nastase shot himself in the throat but it was unclear if his life was in danger.

"I hope he will recover," Prime Minister Victor Ponta told journalists after visiting his predecessor in hospital.

Earlier on Wednesday, the country's highest court rejected his appeal against a jail sentence in a graft trial closely monitored by the European Union.

Nastase, aged 61, who headed a Social Democrat government between 2000 and 2004, was convicted for siphoning off funds totalling about $1.8m for his 2004 re-election campaign.

Prosecutors said public institutions and private companies were pressured into taking part in a 2004 construction contest with participation fees passing through several accounts before ending up paying for Nastase's presidential campaign posters.

Rushed to hospital

Although he was head of the government at the time, he was convicted in his capacity as leader of the Social Democrat Party, whose candidate for the presidential race he was.

The ex-prime minister, who was not present in court, had 24 hours to turn himself in to the police for his imprisonment.

But prosecutors said late on Wednesday that Nastase had "tried to commit suicide".

Mediafax news agency said two policemen had entered his home to hand him the arrest warrant and escort him to prison, when Nastase asked to be allowed to get some books and left the room.

But seconds later he shot himself while a police officer tried to stop him.

He was rushed to hospital from his residence.

Nastase has always denied the charges, saying he was victim of a "political trial".

Political mentor


Having exhausted the last legal recourse in Romania, one of Nastase's lawyers, Lucian Bolcas, told Realitatea TV that his client planned to appeal the verdict at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Nastase is the most senior figure condemned in Romania since the fall of former Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

He is described by analysts as the political mentor of Romania's current Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

"This verdict is opening a new era for Romanian justice in which judges are no longer afraid of condemning powerful people," Laura Stefan, an anti-corruption expert for the think tank Expert Forum, said.

"It will make politicians think twice when they use their political attributions and the budget they are allocated for their personal interest. This is a very strong warning" against graft at top level, she added.

"The verdict marks a very important turning point for the independence and the integrity of the Romanian judiciary," diplomats said.

Jailed heads of government

Romania's judiciary has been under close scrutiny from the European Commission since 2007, with Brussels insisting on more efforts to fight high-level corruption in the former Communist country.

"I think everything that has been done in the past years to reform the Romanian justice system is now bearing fruit," Stefan stressed.

Very few heads of government have been sentenced to jail in Europe on corruption charges.

Italy's Bettino Craxi was sentenced in the 1990s to 27 years in prison - of which nine years and eight months were upheld by appeal courts - for corruption and the illegal financing of his now defunct party. He fled to Tunisia to escape justice and died in exile in 2000.

Nastase is facing two more trials, after prosecutors appealed recent Supreme Court rulings.

In December, he was acquitted of corruption in a case involving a suspicious $400 000 inheritance left to his wife.

In January, he was sentenced to a three-year suspended jail term for blackmail and cleared of graft.

Prosecutors had charged him with receiving about $841 000 in bribes from a construction company owner in exchange for appointing her head of the Construction Inspectorate.

Read more on:    romania
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 19:35 PM
    Road name: M7 Vanguard Drive
    ROADWORKS - traffic restrictions between the R300 and Highlands Drive - expect delays
  • Tuesday Belhar - 17:58 PM
    Road name: Belhar Drive
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Alabama Drive
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.