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Romania's former tourism minister sentenced for corruption and money-laundering

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In this Monday, Feb. 9, 2015 file photo, Elena Udrea touches her nose after delivering a speech in parliament pleading with fellow lawmakers not to approve her arrest.
In this Monday, Feb. 9, 2015 file photo, Elena Udrea touches her nose after delivering a speech in parliament pleading with fellow lawmakers not to approve her arrest.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, file
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An ex-government minister and the daughter of former Romanian President Traian Basescu have been convicted of corruption.

Romania's former tourism minister, Elena Udrea - a protégée and close political ally of President Basescu - was sentenced to eight years in prison for incitement to corruption by Romania's Court of Appeal on Tuesday.

Ioana Basescu, daughter of the former president, was also found guilty of collecting and laundering money that was then used to pay for her father's presidential election campaign in 2009. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

Both had denied any wrongdoing.

Udrea had returned to the country in 2019 after more than a year on the run from the Romanian justice system in Costa Rica. Two other politicians and a businessman were also involved in illegally laundering more than €300,000, according to prosecutors.

The verdict in Bucharest is not final and can be appealed. Prosecutors had initially sought a 12-year sentence for Udrea and 15 years for Basescu.

Traian Basescu, who served as president of Romania from 2004 to 2014, is currently an MEP for the European People's Party.

According to Transparency International, Romania is one of the European Union's most corrupt member states.