Romania: ex-minister, others get prison sentences for bribes

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A Romanian court has upheld prison sentences for a former minister and a former mayor on charges of money-laundering, influence-peddling and taking bribes.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice on Monday sentenced Gheorghe Stefan, former mayor of Piatra Neamt, to six years for influence-peddling. Former telecommunications minister Gabriel Sandu was sentenced to three years for bribery and money-laundering. Sandu admitted wrongdoing and had asked for a suspended sentence. Two other businessmen also received prison sentences. The rulings are final.

Anti-corruption prosecutors said under the terms of a 2004 government contract with Microsoft for computers licensed for schools, the four maneuvered to pocket a 47-percent discount offered by Microsoft. Some 15.7 million euros ($17.6 million) were paid to their companies.