The ex-prime minister of Slovenia began serving a two-year prison sentence Friday for taking bribes in an arms deal with a Finnish company.
Janez Jansa and two others were convicted last year of accepting about $2.7 million in bribes while in office to help the Finnish firm Patria win a 2006 contract worth $378 million for 135 armored personnel carriers.
The former head of state has denied the charges.
Jansa’s sentencing has dominated the campaign ahead of national elections scheduled for July 13, the Gobal Post reported.
He’s still the leader of the center-right Slovenian Democratic Party. If his party wins at the polls, the Slovenian constitution doesn’t prevent him from being appointed prime minister, even if he’s in prison.
On his way into a prison near the capital Ljubljana after the country’s constitutional court upheld his sentence last week, Jansa urged a crowd of followers “to paint (with your votes) Slovenia’s map in the colors of freedom and justice.”
Jansa has been in jail before. He served time in 1988 and 1989 after a conviction for allegedly disclosing military secrets. The verdict was widely seen as politically motivated and triggered a wave of demonstrations, the Associated Press said.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.