Romania: ex-tax chief, 4 others sentenced for tax evasion

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A Romanian court has sentenced five people, including a former tax chief, to prison terms for their roles in a massive tax evasion scheme.

The Bucharest Court of Appeal on Thursday sentenced Sorin Blejnar, the chief of Romania's tax authority from 2009-2012.

Prosecutors said Blejnar helped a group avoid paying taxes of 243 million lei ($61.3 million) on diesel from 2011-2012 by declaring the fuel to be of inferior quality.

Radu Nemes, a businessman who headed the group, got nine years, and his wife Diana received seven years. They fled to the U.S. and were extradited back to Romania in 2014.

A former customs chief and a former police officer each received five years.

The ruling can be appealed. Blejnar has denied wrongdoing. There was no comment from the others.