Monday 17 June 2019

Nastase arrested twice in a day and accused of drink-driving

The former tennis star refused to take a breathalyser test after being held in Bucharest, police said.

Ilie Nastase is released from police headquarters in Bucharest
Ilie Nastase is released from police headquarters in Bucharest

By Alison Mutler

Former tennis star Ilie Nastase has been arrested twice in the space of six hours, first on suspicion of drink-driving and refusing to take a breathalyser test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter.

Nastase had a level of 0.55mg of alcohol per litre, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, an offence that carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

Police initially stopped 71-year-old Nastase at around 4.45am while he was driving in the Romanian capital. They said he was visibly drunk.

Mr Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase’s vehicle as he failed to stop.

Ilie Nastase speaks to the media outside the traffic police headquarters in Bucharest

Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings with his fourth wife Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife.

The former US and French Open champion refused to take a breathalyser test and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him.

He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drink-driving and failing to take a breathalyser test.

Officers stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving licence had been suspended after the first incident.

Nastase admitted he had drunk beer but claimed police had manhandled him and thrown him to the ground during his first arrest.

The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia.

Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during the second arrest.

He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyser test.

He was fined 1,000 lei (£190) for obstructing police and his licence was suspended for three months, but he still faces charges of drink-driving and refusing a breathalyser test.

Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behaviour on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname “Nasty”.

He retained those characteristics after retiring.

Last year, he was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania’s Fed Cup captain.

He had hurled abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match and made advances of a sexual nature towards Britain captain Anne Keothavong.

In a separate incident, he was found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making “racially insensitive” remarks about the possible skin colour of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.

Press Association

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