Bulgarians Stole Millions from EU Funds

Crime | April 30, 2006, Sunday // 00:00

Bulgarians have cheated the European Union's pre-accession programmes with EUR 9 M, the Interior Ministry revealed.

Minister Rumen Petkov was talking about cases of siphoning cash from SAPARD and PHARE.

The sum was calculated following police investigations since 2002.

The most serious case of fraud was revealed in Sliven, where five local officials were nabbed. They are believed to have cheated SAPARD to steal about EUR 1.5 M, according to Petkov.

Suspects in most cases used forged documents - tax invoices, donation notes and others - to gain unrightfully cash from the pre-accession funds.

To fight the disturbing tendency, Bulgaria's Interior is posed to establish a special service against that kind of crimes.

Meanwhile, the work on the cases uncovered so far should be completed by May 10.

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