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It is said that no man can resist the corruption of power. Politicians are, maybe, the most vulnerable. When they have personality inclinations but also wide access to power, money and information, politicians may be tempted to act illegally or immorally. This is a list of most notorious and recent corruption scandals in Europe, involving high rank officials.
1. Silvio Berlusconi – Italy
He was the first acting prime minister to be prosecuted in Italian history. Among other accusations, he was charged with corruption and tax evasion. In spite of his judicial problems, Berlusconi constantly refused to resign, a very unusual political behavior in U. E. countries. He was convicted in 2013 to one year community work and interdiction to occupy any public office until 2019.
2. Ivo Sanader – Croatia
Ivo Sanader had to resign the office in 2009 because of corruption accusations. In 2014 he was convicted to eight and a half years in prison in a lawsuit with implications in Hungary and Austria. He was found guilty of taking a five million Euros bribe from the Hungarian company Mol. Another court decided that, Ivo Sanader illegally received almost 500,000 Euros from Hypo Adria Group, an Austrian bank, during the Serbian-Croatian conflict.
3. Jacques Chirac – France
The ex- French president, Jacques Chirac was sentenced to two years suspended prison in a case of public funds diversion and public trust abuse. He was put on trial for charges related to his time as mayor of Paris. He was accused of paying members of his party for non-existent municipal jobs. Chirac was the first French president to be condemned by a correctional court.
4. Victor Ponta – Romania
The acting Romanian prime minister faced accusations of forgery, tax evasion and money laundering. Prosecutors suspect Victor Ponta of using forged invoices from a law firm to buy luxury apartments and an expensive car. He denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign, even if the Romanian president urged him to. The accused prime minister said only the Parliament can dismiss him.
5. Akis Tsochatzopoulos – Greece
The ex-defense Minister and founding member of socialist party, Pasok, was arrested and faced accusations of money laundering and supporting criminal activities in relation to defense contracts during his tenure. According to the court, Akis Tsochatzopoulos took bribe through offshore companies in exchange for signing the acquisition of a Russian anti-missile defense system and of several German submarines.
6. Petr Nečas – Czech Republic
The center-right Czech prime-minister, Petr Nečas, resigned in 2013 following a scandal involving corruption and misuse of power. Three MP’s and high rank military officials, as well as premier’s closest adviser and alleged lover, were involved. Initially Nečas refused to step down but the political attacks and the public pressure forced him to.
7. Adrian Năstase – Romania
Romanian ex-premier was jailed in a bribery case. The Romanian Supreme court sentenced him to four years in prison for corruption and blackmail. Also his wife received a three-years suspended prison for collusion. Adrian Nastase allegedly tried to commit suicide in 2012, just after receiving a two-year jail term in a separate case.
8. Janez Jansa – Slovenia
In 2010, the ex-PM Janez Jansa was charged with corruption in a case related to a defense contract signed in 2006 with the Finnish company Patria. The 278 million euros contract provided that the company delivered 135 armored vehicles. Jansa had allegedly negotiated a donation to his party (SDS) but always used intermediaries. In 2013, a court in Ljublijana sentenced Jansa to two years jail and a 37,000 euro fine in Patria lawsuit.
9. Christian Wulff – Germany
The Federal President, Christian Wulff, was forced to resign in 2012, after his legal immunity was lifted. He was on trial for allegedly receiving a 500 Euros worth holiday for himself and his wife. In exchange for this gift a cinema producer made him, the President would have promised support for a film project. Though Wulff was found not guilty, he was the second German head of state to face charges, after Adolf Hitler’s successor Admiral Karl Doenitz.