Romanian Ex-Minister Sentenced to 5 Years in Jail for Graft
Romania's supreme court on Monday sentenced former sports minister Monica Iacob Ridzi to five years in jail for corruption and abuse of office.
The sentence is not final and is subject to appeal.
Ridzi, a minister between December 2008 and July 2009 in a center-right government, was found guilty of illegally handing out over-valued contracts to private firms which cost the government around EUR 650,000 in 2009.
Prosecutors said she also tried to erase evidence of her wrongdoings from her computer.
The former minister has denied any wrongdoing.
One of her aides, Ioana Varsta, was also sentenced to five years in prison.
Romania's judiciary has made significant progress in fighting corruption since the country joined the European Union in 2007.
The number of people convicted for high-level graft grew from 155 in 2006 to more than 1,000 in 2013, official data showed.
Among them were several ministers, policemen, judges and even a former prime minister, Adrian Nastase.