Romania's High Court maintained on Wednesday a 2 year prison sentence applied by the same court for former prime minister Adrian Nastase earlier this year. The final verdict in the so-called "Quality Trophy" case is unprecedented in Romania, as Nastase is the highest ranking former official in the country to be sentenced for corruption. The case relates to Nastase's 2004 election campaign, when according to the charges he covered fund raising for the campaign by organizing a fee-based symposium. The verdict was announced three years and four months since the case was sent to court.

  • Adrian Nastase served as prime minister of Romania in the early 2000's. According to charges brought by the National Anti-Corruption Department, he covered fund raising for his presidential electoral campaign in 2004 by initiating a symposium, "The Quality Trophy in Construction Works", which was organized by the State Inspectorate for Construction Works.  Attendance fees collected at the event, amounting to over 1.6 million euro, reached four companies controlled by two people close to Nastase's family. From there, the money left for a firm which provided various services for Nastase, then leader of the Social Democratic Party, in his campaign for presidency. He eventually lost the elections before incumbent president Traian Basescu.

The decision today was made unanimously by High Court magistrates.

Four other people indicted in the case - Marina Popovici, Bogdan Popovici, Irina Jianu (organiser of the Quality Trophy symposium) and Diana Gasparovici - received prison sentences of 5 to 6 years.

On Wednesday, the High Court magistrates accepted an appeal by all indicted people against a verdict another panel of judges of the High Court pronounced in the case earlier this year, which sentenced Nastase to two year prison time. The magistrates today changed the legal framework of Nastase's deeds, but maintained the two year sentence.

Adrian Nastase has always claimed that the case had political reasons.

  • Nastase was sentenced for breaching legislation according to which prison sentences of up to five years are applied for a person who holds a leadership position in political parties, trade unions or other organizations and who uses his influence or authority in order to obtain undue benefits for him or others. Once he serves his sentence, Nastase will not be allowed, for another two years, to vote or be voted for public authority bodies or for elected public positions, to hold a state authority position or to run activities similar to those he used in committing the crime for which he was sentenced.

Adrian Nastase, while no longer at the helm of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), has remained an influential leader of the group. He is seen as the man who has helped current prime minister Victor Ponta raise to the presidency of the PSD and to the leadership of the union PSD has forged with the Liberals (PNL) - the Social Liberal Union (USL), which now forms the government.

Following the verdict, an arrest warrant is expected to be issued on the names of all sentenced persons, but they can show up to the police within 24 hours.