63-year-old Nastase was found guilty of allegedly receiving bribes totalling 630,000 euros (USD 858,000) from construction entrepreneur Irina Jianu in exchange for appointing her to head the public works department.

Prosecutors said Jianu bankrolled several shopping sprees in China for Nastase and his wife Daniela between 2002 and 2004.

A dozen shipping containers were needed to transport the goods, which included sculpted furniture, bronze statuettes and even plastic vegetables, the court heard.

Jianu also paid for restoration on two villas belonging to the former Social Democrat prime minister, who headed the government between 2000 and 2004.

Nastase was also found guilty of blackmailing Romania's former consul in Hong Kong, who organized the shopping spree. He threatened to leak the allegation that the diplomat was an undercover secret service agent, prosecutors said.

Nastase was not present in court for the hearing, held just 10 months after he was released from a previous jail term.

He was handed a two-year prison sentence in June 2012 for syphoning off funds totalling 1.5 million euros for his 2004 election campaign, and released in March 2013 after serving two-thirds of his term.

(Agencies)

Latest News from World News Desk