"Berlin prosecutors are about to issue a European arrest warrant.." reports say.
The prosecutor's office in Germany is acting on unofficial information that Kalina Ilieva, who was fired in October as head of the State Agriculture Fund, may go into hiding abroad, 168 Hours weekly reported, citing high-ranking unnamed sources.
The Bulgarian "high-ranking unnamed sources" - read the Ministry for Agriculture and The Interior Ministry, have started a deliberate smear-campaign to draw attention away from Ilieva's revealed and documented cases of continuous fraud with EU funds.
The Bulgarian State is responsible for the siphoned EU funds and would have to pay back violated funds, and the corrupt officials and cabinet ministers are certainly not happy with that. No one, despite rock solid evidence and documentation, remain in prison in Bulgaria after stealing hundreds of millions euro from European taxpayers.
The rumors about the "probable" arrest order by German authorities are based on unnamed Bulgarian sources and unofficial information, and not confirmed in Germany.
She might be fined for faking her education documents and diploma in Germany, but she can not be prosecuted in Bulgaria if her employer, the Bulgarian State, was aware of her forged papers but put her in charge of administrating the funds. Do not forget
the Bulgarian State has admitted she passed all checks without remarks. It is standard routine in all EU countries to check references on high ranked officials, and who believes
in the absurd, nonsense excuses from her Bulgarian employers?
It makes sense, especially in Bulgaria, that she was hired for the job in return for favors as to give priority to certain projects and ongoing fraud with the funds. At some stage she disobeyed order and started to give OLAF substantial evidence of SAPARD violations. She knew perfectly well she would be held responsible for violations regardless her forged diploma. Ilieva has done what most people would do in a "impossible" hostage situation - fight back and try to escape no matter consequences.
She has obviously forged her diploma, but Bulgarian media should give her a chance to tell her side of the story. But the Interior and Agriculture Ministries will not allow her to reveal any details and we all see Minister Tsvetanov's footprint in the campaign. She is accused and found guilty long before any trial/charge and chance to defend herself.
It is a sad story, but it clarifies the (non existing) rule of law in Bulgaria and the increasing problem with corruption in Bulgaria. Michelle Bonev's mother made a statement the other day about Michelle's many rich friends and huge amount of money, followed by the typical Bulgarian denial of facts - she had no idea where the money was coming from.
We are going to hear a lot of lies, accusations and denials in this case as well in the future.
In one of the emails which Ilieva has sent to EU's anti-fraud agency OLAF, she allegedly stated that Naydenov has pressed her to pass certain Rural Development projects. As a result, Bulgaria's National Security Agency (DANS) has started investigating him, according to the "24 chasa" daily.
Bravo Ilieva !
My respect and appreciation of Ilieva is growing regardless of her forged diploma and disloyalty to her employers. DANS did not start investigating the Agriculture Minister because of a single email to OLAF, but because her allegations/suspicions were substantiated,verifiable and well documented.
It is a fact that Naydenov has been suspiciously engaged and involved in several SAPARD projects and put pressure on Ilieva to fast-track finances and payments for these projects.
DANS had no other option, due to formal demands from OLAF/EU, than starting investigation.
But again, Naydenov has immunity and DANS is reporting directly to the Bulgarian Cabinet. The former Government was riddled with corruption scandals and the SAPARD funds were frozen and we have to ask:
Is Borisov willing to risk, again, frozen funds and disapproval from EU due to professional misconduct and corruption from one of his key ministers ?
Hardly ! Best case scenario is another tax/income probe initiated by the Parliament due to Naydenov's increased income. But the situation will be exactly the same as for Tsvetanov as Naydenov will present substantial income from "project consultancy" without revealing contracts, names or employers. Either way, he can keep on any corruption scheme without facing any legal consequences due to his immunity.
"When I saw Michelle Bonev in Venice, and she turned out to be ... hm ... she was dressed in a peculiar way, and so she's one pretty woman. What's the problem?" said Rashidov Thursday.
"In the end, we're 100% men - the chief thing for us is to look at beautiful women and appraise them," concluded the Bulgarian Minister of Culture.
The Bulgarian Minister of Culture is obviously not afraid of making a fool of himself, and he is doing great so far!
Most people would agree Miss Bonev is good looking and she might even have some "artistic" qualities. She is obviously a popular "sleep around" and has a lot of good clients- eh, read friends- among Italian and Bulgarian politicians.
But the key question is: Should public money be spent so that horny old politicians can enjoy and appreciate beautiful women in art events for "adults" or romantic entertainment ?
Mr. Rashidov, whenever he stops wet dribbling at beautiful women with public funding, might find out it is a problem !
Last week, Rashidov claimed he did not know who covered the expenses for the Bulgarian delegation and for the special gala, organized for Michelle Bonev. This led to Bulgarian film makers demanding his resignation, as they stated he has violated the government's ethical norms.
Meanwhile, Bonev already declared she paid for the delegation and the ceremony herself.
Well, what about some common sense in this soap opera ?
Michelle Bonev is certainly good looking and has a lot of high ranked connections in Italy and Bulgaria. But her "achievements" as an actor and film-producer are obviously not from - eh- traditional stage work.
Her company "Romantica Entertainment" does not excel in film production, but provides "work" and "opportunities" to good looking young models/girls(many of them Bulgarians) for high-ranked "private" clients.
I guess the company name is fairly well associated with the "business" activities, and it does not take rocket science to figure out what kind of activities. Even romantic events have a price tag !
Did she pay for the delegation from her company account? Easy to check, and her company has a public record in Italy and it is not difficult to find out about Romantica
Entertainment and get references from it's clients ?
Minister Naydenov and PM Borisov have been maintaining that they were subjected to consistent lies and manipulation by Ilieva, and knew neither of her forged degree, nor who her father was.
Apparently the public has to believe that those senior statesmen were victimized by the cunning and treacherous Ilieva.
No, the public should not believe a word as both politicians knew from the start that her education and references were highly questionable. But they counted on her loyalty and obedience, and cannot face the fact that she made rebellion.
Lies and manipulations ? Certainly these two politicians know all about intimidations and lies, and they deserve the questions being raised now.
Bravo for Bulgarian media that seem to question the whole episode. If I was OLAF or investigating media in Bulgaria, I would instead focus on Naydenov's conflict of interest in the recently introduced national food standards in Bulgaria.
"I am mad at her and I am offended. She told me she had tumor, and all of a sudden it turned out she was in fact pregnant. A woman having a baby is great news, why did she have to lie to me?," he said."I do feel cheated as everyone else involved in this scandal; of course I have to share the responsibility for it, but she seemed to possess all required qualities to have a great career,"
To be pregnant is not a crime or a scandal in any civilized country, and as a public servant she was entitled to maternity leave- not dismissal from her job.
But again, Bulgaria is known as a primitive, flawed democracy ruled by political mavericks on a day to day basis. The reactions from EU are positive in her favor, and she has reported and verified numerous violations of EU SAPARD funds in Bulgaria and OLAF/EU Commission is pleased with her work. The old practice in Bulgarian State Agencies of siphoning of 20% "return-commission" for Bulgarian officials did not work during her time in office. Certainly a lot of corrupt officials regard her as a traitor and dangerous, and now they have a golden opportunity to use her as a scapegoat as she, as thousands of Bulgarians, has "faked" her diploma and marks.
It is hard to believe that no one checked her references, but it makes sense she got the job due to "connections" with members of the Cabinet. The politicians had expectations she would continue the old practice and she knew the stakes all the time.
It takes courage and integrity to stand up for values in Bulgaria knowing the consequences and reactions, and she has singlehanded done more to fight corruption in Bulgaria than all official declarations and fake police actions have done altogether.
She might be charged and fined for falsifications in Germany, but hardly spend any time in prison. Her crime was committed in Bulgaria and it is a hard hit against Borisov' s practice of appointing loyal friends and contacts as CEO' s or heads of State Agencies.
Can we expect vengeance and desperate efforts to claim back rejected EU funding ?
Certainly it will happen when Borisov has finished making emotional and silly remarks.
A lesson to learn ? Not so much, but a great pleasure to see a reversed version of Bulgarian corruption - to see Bulgarian politicians tasting their own medicine!
She has obviously not violated any work ethics or financial regulations as the CEO,and she knew perfectly well the reactions when she started to report violations she was not expected to report.
Bulgarians are upset because she terminated and betrayed a lot of attempted scams with SAPARD funds, and seem to forget that one of 3 Bulgarians have fake driving licenses, diplomas, work references etc.
Has she harmed Bulgaria's international reputation ? No, on the contrary ! She is the case that went unexpectedly wrong for a corrupt Bulgarian state administration.
Former Executive Director of the Bulgarian Agriculture Fund, Kalina Ilieva, has sent over 400 emails to the EU anti-fraud office OLAF, reporting alleged violations committed by Bulgarian farmers.
A sad story, but so common in Bulgaria. She is not the first or only Bulgarian "official" with fake papers and references. Just check the majority of Bulgarian MPs!
The fake diploma or pregnancy might not be the only reasons to release her of her duties.
She has reported fraud and violations to OLAF, and was not popular with Bulgarian authorities.
The authorities will now try to take advantage of the situation, and put pressure on EU to release the previous blocked funds in the SAPARD program. A lot of officials have been draining the funds for years and they were certainly not happy with a whistle-blower in their ranks. After all, she had inside information about the fraud with SAPARD funds and she rightfully reported on officials and farmers cooperating to siphon EU funds.
Well, well, what a surprise !
The case has already been postponed due to technicalities and illness, and I wont take the jackpot if I say the case will eventually be rejected (and it will have to) by the Judiciary. The Prosecution and the investigation has not been able to produce any substantial physical evidence or witnesses that will stand a day in court.
These "criminals" have served their purpose as scapegoats for the Interior Ministry's political strategy as to seemingly fighting organized crime and corruption. They will walk free(and they should) as will the so-called "Killers".
The whole anti - corruption and organized crime campaign has been a farce and political scam from day one, and EU should stop encouraging the Bulgarian authorities for their "willingness" and intentions to fight corruption and organized crime.
But the Interior Ministry seems to have faith in street-corner scams and will keep on launching phony "public" police actions in hope that foreign investors and EU officials at some stage will believe the Government is serious in it's intentions.
But what are the odds for that?
"The Prosecution will also report achievements in the fight against corruption at the high-levels of power",...
Well, in that case there is not much to report or share ! In a more streetwise and blunt language - The Deputy Prosecutor is serving a pack of lies and absurd nonsense. The Prosecution has not been able to achieve a single successful case where "the charges" have resulted in "positive" convictions.
In lack of better explanations, the Prosecution seems to have a political strategy where people are charged on phony allegations with insufficient evidence, with the purpose of making showcases for EU and International media.
Corruption and organized crime is escalating in Bulgaria, but Bulgarians get their traditional entertainment from the authorities / politicians and seem to be satisfied with the show.
Another question is the more sober attitudes from EU professionals, and at the end of the visit they will have to conclude: Nothing done, and nothing achieved.
ome questions should be answered :
How is it possible to sell more than 100 state/municipal properties based on the "allegedly forged" signature of the mayor?
Transfer of ownership and issuing of new deeds, has to be confirmed by a notary and with the parties present. The announced "pleasant" probe smells of political tactics, and for sure Borisov will or must try to back up his right hand deputy who has lost all credibility.
Success in high profile cases ?
Well, that would be the day ! We only have Mr. Borisov's words that his signature has been forged , but no substantiated proof/evidence. Do the Prosecutor's Office is Sofia think that is enough for the Judiciary?
We can turn the case upside down and ask : Has the previous mayor of Sofia been selling off public property without authorization and for personal profit ?
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