Croatia: Ex-ambassador guilty of embezzling money

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — A court has convicted Croatia's former ambassador to Washington of embezzlement for spending more than $120,000 of the state's money on luxury meals and shopping and sentenced him to a year and a half in prison.

Judge Ivan Turudic ruled Thursday that 58-year-old Neven Jurica — who also was the country's representative at the United Nations — should also be banned from working in state services for five years.

Jurica resigned his post in September 2009 as rumors of his lavish spending appeared in media. The prosecution says he spent the money in 2007-8 and falsely showed it as official expenses.

Jurica claimed he spent it all for lobbying, buying meals and gifts for foreign officials as "gallantry is important in diplomacy."