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BUCHAREST, ROMANIA — A former Romanian diplomat was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter and other charges over the hit-and-run killing of a pedestrian in Singapore more than three years ago, prosecutors said.
Silviu Ionescu, the former business attache at the Romanian Embassy in Singapore, was accused of hitting two people at a crosswalk in Singapore in December 2009 after ignoring a red light. He fled the scene and struck a third victim on the next corner after ignoring another red light.
One of the victims, Malaysian man Tong Kok Wai, died at the scene while two others were injured. Prosecutors said Ionescu drove to an industrial area in Singapore after the second accident and then abandoned the embassy's black Audi A6, leaving the vehicle with another embassy employee.
The former diplomat later claimed the embassy's vehicle had been stolen from the Romanian Embassy in Singapore, but embassy employee Marius Trusca confirmed he had changed cars with Ionescu that day. He returned to Romania shortly after the accident but was later detained in Bucharest and relieved of his post.
The Bucharest Sector 3 Court convicted Ionescu on Wednesday, finding him guilty of manslaughter, negligent bodily injury and leaving the scene of an accident. He was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to begin serving his sentence immediately, although the conviction can still be appealed.
In a statement, a spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the news. "Singapore welcomes the verdict delivered by the Bucharest Sector 3 Court, which sentenced former Romanian Chargé d'Affaires in Singapore Dr Silviu Ionescu to three years in jail after a trial lasting two years and eight months," he said.
Photo : The Palace of Justice viewed across the Dâmbovița River by Mihai Petre