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Romanian ex-mayor sentenced to 8 years in prison for selling real estate below market value

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BUCHAREST, Romania — A Romanian court has sentenced a former Bucharest district mayor to eight years in prison for illegally selling the city's real estate at a price far below its market value.

The Bucharest Court of Appeal announced the sentence Friday against Cristian Poteras and four town hall employees, who were imprisoned between 3 ½ and five years. The ruling is final.

The court said the town hall employees had helped Poteras with the six illegal real estate transactions in 2005-2006, which caused damages to the state worth 58.2 million euros ($64.6 million).

Judges ordered that 19.9 million euros ($22 million) be confiscated from one person for one transaction and 810,000 euros ($900,000) from another.

Romania has stepped up its anti-corruption drive in recent months.

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