Bulgarian Special Prosecution Charges Five Officials of Burgas Food Safety Directorate with Bribery
The Special Prosecutor’s Office has charged five officials of the Burgas Regional Food Safety Directorate with membership in an organized crime group involved in soliciting and receiving bribes, said the Appellate Special Prosecutor's Office. Among them is the director, who has been indicted as the leader of the group.
The five officials were detained on 28 August 2019 in Burgas, Nesebar, and Pomorie in a joint operation of the Special Prosecutor's Office and the General Directorate for Combating Organised Crime.
The evidence collected so far indicates that the group has been operating since the beginning of 2016. As civil servants, the group members regularly carried out bogus inspections of commercial establishments in the Burgas region or stopped real inspections carried out by other officials with the intention of receiving bribes.
In some cases, the director himself suspended ongoing inspections, arriving at the site and influencing his subordinates.
The group members received between 400 and 900 levs from the businesses for the creation of the "Self-Control System" mandatory for each establishment. The owners were instructed to commission a specific person with the creation of the system in question. If they refused, they were sanctioned.
During the searches of the homes of the accused and four office premises, money was seized in different currencies worth about BGN 25,000 (in levs, euros, and dollars), documents, notes, mobile phones, computers and other evidence of criminal activity of the group.
A bail amounting to BGN 150,000 was imposed on the leader of the group – the director of the Regional Directorate for Food Safety in Burgas, while that of the other members was BGN 75,000 each.
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