Former Romanian prime minister Adrian Nastase attempted to commit suicide on the evening of June 20 rather than be taken to jail to begin serving his two-year prison sentence. He has been taken to hospital and is reported to be in intensive care, but conscious.
According to reports in Romanian media, Nastase made the attempt when two police officers presented him with the court order to turn himself in. Earlier in the evening, a five-judge panel of the high court of justice ruled to confirm the two-year sentence handed to Nastase for his part in a case of illegal campaign funding gathering.
Nastase appeared intent to shoot himself in the head, but was prevented by the two officers. Instead, the bullet passed through his neck, the reports said.
Nastase was taken to hospital, where he was visited by current prime minister Victor Ponta, a former PhD student of Nastase and close political ally, as well as several other prominent Social-Democrat party politicians.
It was during Nastase’s time as leader of the party and prime minister, in 2004, when he ran for the presidency, that about 1.6 million euro gathered as participation fees for a construction industry seminar were transferred through intermediaries to Nastase’s campaign. Four other people involved in the transfer were handed sentences of five and six years in jail.
Nastase was the highest-ranking politician targeted by Romania’s anti-corruption prosecution, set up to meet European Union accession criteria in the justice and home affairs area. He was earlier prosecuted on charges of giving bribes, but was acquitted.
Nastase would not have to serve his full two-year sentence, since Romanian law allows inmates aged over 60 to serve only a third of their prison term if their sentence is less than 10 years. Nastase turns 62 on June 22.