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Ex-diplomat jailed for crash death

March 27, 2013 at 7:33 PM

BUCHAREST, Romania, March 27 (UPI) -- A court in Bucharest convicted a former Romanian diplomat in a fatal 2009 hit-and-run car crash in Singapore and sentenced him to three years in jail.

Prosecutors in Bucharest said Silviu Ionescu, Romania's former charge d'affaires in Singapore, caused the accident, in which one person died and two were injured, and then tried to divert authorities' attention to a different suspect, Romania-Insider.com reported Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Ionescu ran a red light, hitting two people in a crosswalk, and drove on, ignoring the red light at the next crosswalk and hitting a third person. He continued driving and then abandoned his car in an industrial neighborhood, Romania-Insider reported.

Ionescu later said the car was stolen from the Romanian Embassy in Singapore, the newspaper reported.

Ionescu, who maintained his innocence, said he tried to fight for the image of his country, since his own reputation was already damaged, the newspaper said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore said in a statement Wednesday night that "Singapore welcomes the verdict."

The ministry said Ionescu was found guilty of "manslaughter, negligent bodily injury and leaving the scene of an accident."

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