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Former Romanian PM released on parole

BUCHAREST, Aug. 22 — Romania's former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase was released late Thursday from prison on parole, following an earlier ruling of the local court.

"I remain the same; I think the tests in recent years have strengthened me. I need some time to clear up projects for the future," said Nastase.

The local Ilfov Tribunal upheld the favorable ruling for Nastase issued by Bucharest's Sector 4 Court, dismissing an appeal made by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).

"I am very, very, very glad that Adrian Nastase will spend tonight together with his family!" said incumbent Social Democratic Prime Minister Victor Ponta on his Facebook page, soon after the announcement of the final court ruling.

Nastase, former prime minister from 2000 to 2004 and leader of the Social Democratic Party from 2000 to 2005, is generally considered here to be Ponta's mentor.

Nastase told the press waiting outside the Jilava Penitentiary that he will not be allowed to hold public office in the next nine years, yet he received offers from multinational companies and even from a foreign government. However, he did not want to give more details.

"If I am not needed in Romania, as the courts decided, obviously I have to find a way for the future," said 64-year-old Nastase, adding that he represents even today "a target to be tracked throughout the land," and he hope that those in charge of these matters will understand that such battles will not bring anything good.

In early January, Nastase was sentenced to four years in prison for taking bribes and three years for blackmail in the "Zambaccian" case in which he was accused of receiving, between 2002 and 2004, undue benefits worth about 600,000 euro (790,000 U. S. dollars).

The benefits were reported to be in the form of imported goods and some construction services done on his property in Cornu and a house in Bucharest's Zambaccian Street.

In 2012, Nastase was also sentenced to serve two years in prison for abuse of power. He served eight months before being paroled.

Nastase is one of the few senior officials sentenced to jail in eastern European countries. The judgment triggered controversy in the Romanian society and the former prime minister always insisted that he was the victim of a political trial. (PNA/Xinhua)

FPV//JSD

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