European Prosecutor's Office: We are Working on Signals of Systemic Corruption from Bulgaria
The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), which has so far declined to comment on whether it has anything to do with the arrests of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, former Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov and PR Sevdelina Arnaudova, said it was working on allegations of “systemic corruption against senior public officials” from Bulgaria.
The institution issued a statement on Monday stating that more details will not be disclosed so as not to jeopardize the outcome of the investigations. “If additional information could be made public, this will be done actively with a position on our part.”
“The European Prosecutor's Office confirms the receipt of several signals from Bulgaria, containing serious allegations of fraud with European funds and systemic corruption against senior public officials. Investigations are ongoing,” said in a statement.
The European Prosecutor's Office, headed by Laura Kovesi, who visited Bulgaria the day before the Interior Ministry's action against Borissov, was mentioned in the Interior Ministry's first statement announcing actions against the former prime minister. Then it was written that the action was related to 120 signals of the European Prosecutor's Office in Bulgaria.
On Friday, the Bulgarian prosecutor's office said the European prosecutor's office had no jurisdiction over the investigation against Borissov. Boyko Borissov's lawyer, Menko Menkov, also denied that the institution was involved in the investigation against his client.
The initiated pre-trial proceedings are for extortion. The prosecution decided not to press charges against Borissov, Goranov and Arnaudov, claiming that there was a lack of sufficient evidence. The Interior Ministry accused the state of sabotage. Earlier on Monday, the Interior Ministry again proposed that charges be brought against the three and that they be detained for 72 hours.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who was questioned in connection with the action against Borissov, told what he said to investigators. Petkov connected two plots. One is for the non-payment of BGN 556 million by the gambling companies of the accused businessman Vasil Bozhkov, which according to his explanations is a consequence of bribes given to Borisov and Goranov.
“It has been known for over a year that there is such a case, Bozhkov told no one. It is insane that the prosecutor's office does not even hold a pre-trial proceeding to have a Skype conversation with Bozhkov” (the prosecutor's office explains that video communication is not provided for in the law as a way to testify). “If anyone wants, they can do it tomorrow. Mr. Bozhkov wants to provide information. A man who bribed high-ranking officials wants to tell the story, and the prosecutor's office says that Skype connections are not the way and it does not care. His partners, the secretaries in the Ministry of Finance, are not being questioned. The fact, if it turns out to be true, is that because of a bribe of BGN 60 million, half a billion of our money has flowed out,” Petkov said, noting that the prosecutor's office is an occupied institution that is not doing its job, obviously.
The Prime Minister also announced a report in the Ministry of Finance, which signals how the EU funds have been audited. According to him, it is known from him that for over 90% of the EU funds, which were under the control of the Ministry of Finance, there was only one applicant company in the procedures.
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