Thursday, September 12, 2013

AFP: Romanian MEP to stand trial for corruption

A Romanian member of the European Parliament will stand trial for allegedly agreeing to take bribes from lobbyists to influence EU laws, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Romania's national anti-corruption prosecutors charged that Adrian Severin had "in his capacity as an MEP accepted, between December 2010 and March 2011, the promise of two people to give him 100,000 euros ($133,000) in exchange for putting down favourable amendments and voting against amendments that did not tie in with the interests" of the company the people said they represented.

Severin, who has always denied the allegations, faces 12 years behind bars if convicted.

The corruption scandal erupted in 2011 when Severin -- along with fellow MEPs Ernst Strasser from Austria, Zoran Thaler from Slovenia and Pablo Zalba from Spain -- was caught in a Sunday Times sting operation by journalists posing as lobbyists.

They were caught on a hidden camera accepting to file favourable amendments in return for payments of up to 100,000 euros annually.

Prosecutors also charged that Severin had demanded 12,000 euros in return for influencing other MEPs.

Strasser, a former interior minister, was sentenced to four years in prison in January for bribery. The judge said Strasser had greatly damaged Austria's reputation.

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