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British Man To Be Tried for Smuggling a Baby Out of Romania

February 7, 1996

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - Romanian authorities have charged a British charity worker with smuggling a baby out of the country, an prosecutor said Wednesday.

Prosecutor Radu Bodea said John William Boast took a 15-old-month baby girl from a hospital in Oradea last year and illegally took her across the nearby border to Hungary and on to Britain.

Boast, 47, denies he had anything to do with smuggling the child out of the country. While not under arrest, he cannot leave Romania until the end of his trial, set to start March 1 in an Oradea court.

Boast could face up to five years in jail if convicted.

British authorities found the infant, Laura Varga, last year in northeastern Britain in the custody of an English family.

Boast works for Britain’s Great Harwood charity and lives in a village near Oradea. He told reporters last month that he did not help to get the child out of the country.

``Somehow the child has gone missing and gone to England very close to the time I took her for a walk,″ Boast said in the interview.

In 1994 a British couple was sentenced to two years in jail for baby smuggling, but they were let off on probation after diplomatic pressure.

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