Mayor of Bulgaria's Karlovo Charged with Willful Neglect
Emil Kabaivanov, Mayor of the Bulgarian town of Karlovo, has been indicted with charges of willful neglect of a project to renovate and upgrade his town's sewage system using funding from the EU.
Kabaivanov has been released on bail.
In his words, the charges are part of a plot to prevent him from running again that is being played out only a few months before local elections are held across the country.
His charges are with regard to the fact that "three persons invited by him without conducting any activity whatsoever under the projects received a salary [amounting to a total of] BGN 22 849 [approximately EUR 11420]," a spokesman for the district prosecutor's office is heard telling Radio Focus.
The project was financed under Operational Program Environment for the 2007-2013 period. Allegedly, between end-April 2013 and April 2014, Kabaivanov failed to take proper care of the property conferred to him under an agreement between the Environment Ministry and Karlovo Municipality.
Prosecutors suggest there have been several attempts of Kabaivanov to avoid being indicted. A message on the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Bulgaria reads [BG] that on Monday he "appeared without a lawyer, considering that he might avert his indictment." His lawyer, however, only "submitted a request to Prosecution according to which due to a leave cannot appear on August 12, 2015, when the previous indictment procedure had been scheduled, but will be able to do this on August 17, 2015."
"Contrary to the claims of the defendant, Kabaivanov, to the media, all persons interrogated as part of the case have stated they did receive money without any ground whatsoever, which he was aware of," the statement goes on.
It says the investigation against him continued for a year and three months.
Until now, Kabaivanov has often been pointed to as the most likely nominee raised by right-wing Reformist Bloc (RB) coalition to run for another term in the October 25 local elections.
But the prosecuting authorities also say the indictment poses no obstacle for him to seek another term in office.
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