British journalist: Donald Trump would probably end up in jail for this in Romania

US President Donald Trump would probably face state prosecution and end up in jail, if he were in Romania, a British journalist wrote on Twitter commenting a news piece that reveals the US administration paid over USD 69,000 for two nights Trump and his staff spent at a hotel in Scotland that Trump owns.

The Scotsman, a Scottish newspaper, wrote about this transaction which reignites a debate on how the US president may be using his power to profit personally.

Many top politicians in Romania were prosecuted, sent to court and even convicted to jail in the last ten years for deals that benefitted them or people in their entourage.

“Donald Trump would probably face a state prosecution and end up in jail for this…in Romania. A former Romanian PM went to prison for a corruption charge that was far less clear-cut. Think about that for a second, yeah?” Matt Steinglass, Deputy Europe Editor at The Economist, tweeted.

He refers to former Romanian prime minister Adrian Nastase, who was sent to prison in 2012 after the High Court found him guilty of having financed his election campaigns with funds collected for the symposium ‘Quality Trophy’, organized by the State Inspectorate for Quality in Construction in 2004. Participation fees for the symposium in 2004, totaling EUR 1.6 million, went to four companies, controlled by two members of Nastase’s entourage.

Adrian Nastase, a former leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), served as PM when the PSD were in power between 2000 and 2004.

Another former Romanian prime minister, Victor Ponta, was also prosecuted for abuse of office for allegedly gaining electoral benefits from a visit former British PM Tony Blair made in Romania in March 2012. The prosecutors said that Romanian businessman Sebastian Ghita covered the cost of this visit, some EUR 220,000, in exchange for a place on PSD’s list for the parliamentary elections in 2012.

PSD’s current leader Liviu Dragnea, was recently sentenced to three and a half years in jail for abuse of office, for arranging that a public agency under his authority paid two of his party’s collaborators who didn’t do any work for that agency. The damage in this case was estimated at some EUR 23,000. The sentence is not final.

The ruling coalition in Romania, led by Liviu Dragnea himself, has been making efforts since early 2017 to change the criminal code and narrow down the situations in which public officials can be prosecuted and sent to court as well as the prosecutors’ powers. Thus, if the changes to the criminal codes recently voted by the Parliament were in place, it’s less likely that Donald Trump would face prosecution even if he were a Romanian official.

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(Photo source: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

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