Case against MP Mareshki and His Team Will Not Be Over Soon, Prosecution Says
''The case against the MPs from Volya party Veselin Mareshki, Plamen Hristov and Krastina Taskova will not be over soon'', Roumyana Arnaudova, the spokesperson of Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor, told BNT morning programme “The Day Begins” on 26th of June.
According to the prosecutor's office, many actions are to be carried out and more than 80 people should be interviewed.
The investigation into the threats against owners of pharmacies against Veselin Mareshki began after the Prosecutor's Office had received evidence through special intelliegence devices. The SIDs were allowed for another case against a businessman from Varna, for racketeering and beating.
Owners of pharmacies have been pressurized to buy medicines from a specific supplier, otherwise pharmacies had been opened near their paharmacies, as a way to “punish” them. The newly opened pharmacies sold medicines at 10% cheaper prices. Thus, at dumped prices, they were forced to either agree or sell their business. In addition to unfair competition, pharmacies were also blackmailed by “ordered” checks by the Bulgarian Drug Agency.
According to data of the Bulgarian Drug Agency in 2013, for the first time in the history of this agency, licenses were withdrawn of 13 pharmacies for not meeting sanitary and construction requirements, and in practice, as confirmed by courts, the Drugs Agency does not have competence to sanction owners of pharmacies.
Roumyana Arnaudova, spokesperson for the Chief Prosecutor said that according to prosecutions evidence, Vesselin Mareshki, Plamen Hristov and Krastina Taskova acted in complicity. According to prosecutors from Varna Prosecutor's Office, there was certain evidence of an organized crime group, so the case was initially sent to the specialized prosecutor's office, but the evidence was not enough. If in the course of the investigation, some evidence is gathered, the case will be sent again to the specialized prosecutor's office.
On 23rd of June Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov filed requests to the Parliament seeking to lift the immunity of MPs Vesselin Mareshki, Krastina Taskova and Plamen Hristov from Volya party.
The requests are based on evidence from an investigation by the District Prosecutor’s Office in the coastal city of Varna, which was initiated 12th of December 2014 for extortion.
In the course of the investigation, evidence has been gathered that during the period from the autumn of 2012 to the end of 2015 in the cities of Varna, Dobrich, Vidin, Pleven and Sofia, Veselin Mareshki threatened 7 owners of pharmacies with property damage and other unlawful actions with severe consequences for them.
According to the prosecution. Mareshki wanted to force them to transfer shares of their pharmacies to companies owned and controlled by Vesselin Mareshki or to terminate their business activities. In some cases, his aim was to force the owners of the pharmacies to commit to buy medicines from his drug stores under unfavourable conditions.
Evidence shows that in that period, Mareshki threatened the owners of pharmacies that through targeted administrative pressure and “ordered” inspections, which would be conducted by close associates he had in the Bulgarian Drug Agency (BDA) and through unfair commercial practices, he would cause their commercial companies to go bankrupt and would force them to cease their activities.
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