VIENNA (Reuters) - Former Austrian interior minister Ernst Strasser was convicted of bribery on Monday and sentenced to four years in jail in a case that prosecutors said undermined trust in European and Austrian institutions.
Strasser, also a former member of the European Parliament, had faced up to 10 years in prison after being caught on camera in 2011 offering to propose amendments to European laws in exchange for 100,000 euros ($133,500) a year.
Prosecutor Alexandra Maruna said Strasser had "massively harmed European politics" and deserved to be punished for abusing confidence in elected officials.
The Austria Press Agency said the verdict was not yet final and could be appealed.
Strasser, 56, was exposed by undercover journalists from Britain's Sunday Times posing as lobbyists. He resigned while denying wrongdoing, saying he wanted to protect the Austrian conservative People's Party, of which he was a senior member.
He insisted during his trial that he went along with the "lobbyists" because he believed they were U.S. Secret Service agents and he wanted to find out what they were after.
Strasser served as interior minister from 2000 to 2004 and in the European Parliament from 2009 to 2011.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp