Slovenia court upholds ex-PM Jansa's prison sentence

A Slovenian higher court on Monday upheld a two-year prison sentence for former prime minister Janez Jansa convicted of corruption in the country's biggest ever defence deal.

Jansa had appealed the sentence of a Ljubljana court in June last year which found him "guilty on the charges of giving or receiving bribery or bribery promises in the acquisition of armoured vehicles."

"The appeal... is rejected as unfounded and the first degree ruling is upheld," a higher court in the Slovenian capital said, according to news website 24ur.

The country's top prosecutor Andrej Ferlinc confirmed the ruling saying the prosecution had "expected such an outcome".

The higher court's ruling means the sentence has to be implemented regardless of a likely appeal by Jansa to still higher courts.

Jansa has protested his innocence and slammed the lengthy trial as a political witch-hunt.

Two other defendants were also sentenced to 22 months in prison.

The centre-right ex-prime minister had been forced to step down in February 2013 over separate corruption allegations.

Jansa, 55, had been charged with "complicity in the giving or accepting of bribery or bribery promises in exchange for a mediation" that led to the 2006 signing of a 278-million-euro deal with Finnish company Patria.

According to the court, he accepted that a commission would be paid to his Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) if the deal with Patria was signed.

The contract for 135 armoured vehicles was part of Slovenia's efforts to modernise its military after joining the NATO alliance in 2004, the same year it became a member of the European Union.