BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The head of Romania's ruling party, Liviu Dragnea, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by the Supreme Court on Thursday for inciting others to abuse of office, though he was expected to appeal.
Dragnea, who is also speaker of the lower house of parliament, was found guilty of keeping two women on the payroll of a state agency in 2006-2013 even though they were employed by his party - a charge he denies. He was a county council chief at the time.
Under the Romanian system, the sentence will not be carried out while Dragnea pursues his appeal. He will also be able to continue working as leader of the Social Democrat Party and speaker while the legal process continues.
Dragnea was cleared of a separate, intellectual forgery charge, the court said.
(Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Andrew Heavens)