25 06 2007 Bucharest __ The Supreme Court in Romania on Monday postponed by three months the initial hearings in a graft case involving the former prime minister, Adrian Nastase.The delay raised eyebrows at a time when the Balkan country is trying to prove it is serious about fighting corruption.
Hearings were postponed until 19 September on procedural grounds. The trial is seen as a test of the ability of the reformed judiciary to prosecute top-level fraud.
Adrian Nastase, Romania’s left-wing premier between 2000-2004, was indicted in November on charges of blackmail and taking bribes worth some 1.4 million euro. Prosecutors expanded the case in May, saying he promoted an official to the top of the state agency combating money-laundering in an effort to stop an investigation into a bank account belonging to his wife.
Nastase has denied all charges but lost his post as the leader of the opposition Social Democrat party last year.
Romania, which is waiting an European Commission report on June 27 about its
progress in reforming the judiciary, has made efforts to introduce new anti-corruption institutions. But it remains the most graft-prone country in the EU, according to the organisation Transparency International.