EU Pressures Bulgaria to Investigate Land Swaps - Report
The European Commission has requested that the Prosecutor's Office in Bulgaria conduct checks of all land swaps in the countr.
This request was received by Sofia Regional Prosecutor's Office, whose chief prosecutor Alexander Nalbantov confirmed the information for 24 Chasa daily.
The EU Commission is also keeping track of two files on Bulgarian land swaps.
These swaps became notorious, since they frequently involved attractive state lands exchanged for properties of much less value. Some 111,200 acres of state land have passed into private hands since 1998.
The Commission is investigating whether those constitute illegitimate state aid to private individuals and firms.
Brussels has also reportedly pointed out 13 swap deals that must be annulled because of manifest breaches of legal regulations.
The Ministry of Agriculture has stated that investigations and analyses of past deals are ongoing and are conducted by a Ministry commission created especially for that purpose.
Dubious exchanges of state lands have led to the filing of charges against the Minister of Agriculture from the former cabinet Nihat Kabil.
Some of the swaps have gained notoriety as they were in favor of well-known businessmen and involved lands promising for developing tourism.
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