All-Out Ban on Donations to Bulgarian Interior Ministry Rejected

Politics » DOMESTIC | September 29, 2011, Thursday // 14:40
Bulgaria: All-Out Ban on Donations to Bulgarian Interior Ministry Rejected Deputy Interior Minister Dimitar Georgiev has insisted that the notorious Roma clan of Tsar Kiro is not among the sponsors of the Interior Ministry. Photo by BGNES

Neither Roma boss Tsar Kiro nor any other Roma baron has been a sponsor of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry, Deputy Interior Minister Dimitar Georgiev said Thursday.

"I have no information about donations made by Kiril Rashkov or his associates", Georgiev stated.

Kiril Rashkov, a notorious self-proclaimed Roma tsar, whose clan's impunity triggered unprecedented protests across the country over the last few days, will be officially charged with tax evasion, prosecutors have said.

Kiril Rashkov will be held accountable for tax crimes amounting to at least BGN 6 M only from his alcohol production and trade business, according to local media reports.

Believed to be one of the richest men in Bulgaria, who piled up his huge wealth thanks to unscrupulous trade in bootleg alcohol and votes, Rashkov has denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier in the week the authorities froze all assets, real estate and stakes in companies owned by Rashkov, who is also believed to be the mastermind of a murder of a nineteen-year-old boy.

Bulgaria's Parliament voted down Thursday Hristo Biserov' s proposal for amendments to the Interior Ministry Act introducing an all-out ban on donations to the Interior Ministry.

The initiative of the MP from the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, party got 17 votes in favor, 59 votes against and 13 abstainees.

Biserov reminded the scandal in early August which revealed that the Interior had received over BGN 15.5 M in donations for the first six months of the year.

He aslo drew attention to the fact that the Interior was the ministry receiving the biggest subsidy and echoed the criticism leveled by the European Commission about the donations underminding the independence of the institution.

As of September 1, the Bulgarian Interior Ministry can no longer receive donations from private individuals and private companies.

The order of Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, signed on August 15th, however, has some exceptions – municipalities, State institutions and companies, international organizations and foreign countries can still make donations.

In July, The European Commission condemned the corrupt donation practice in its report on Bulgaria under the cooperation and verification mechanism, causing Prime Minister Borisov to pledge that the occurrence would be eradicated. Tsvetanov, however, specified that donations would be phased out gradually, rather than rooted out at once.

In the beginning of August, the European Commission Spokesperson Mark Gray, once again, condemned the practice of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry of accepting donations.

"Each donation to the Interior Ministry is unacceptable, be it money or any kind of material valuables", Gray told Bulgarian Sega daily on August 10.

Tsvetanov initially refused to admit that the practice was reprehensible, saying that the Interior had not entered into any commitments in exchange for the donations which were thank-you gifts for a job well-done.

On August 8th, Sega wrote that the Bulgarian Interior Ministry has set a new record of donations, collecting another BGN 9 M in the second quarter of 2011.

The new funds, received under the form of donations from the country and abroad, collected on the backdrop of a global crisis, bring the total amount for the first half of the year to BGN 15.5 M with BGN 6.5 M from the first quarter of 2011, Sega pointed out.

Deputy Interior Minister, Dimitar Georgiev, immediately countered that for the first half of 2011, the Ministry had received BGN 15 270 925 from EU funds, but the money has been listed as donations, assuring all donors are subject to careful and detailed checks and have to sign a declaration that they don't have a criminal record.

At the time, Tsvetanov, further stressed speculations surrounding donations to the police are just part of the smearing election campaign, saying some media "serve particular political and business interests."

It was reported meanwhile that the Interior Ministry was set to file a Court claim against traffic police officer, Konstantin Ivanov, who revealed the umbrella policy of the institution towards traffic violations committed by its donors. Ivanov was recently forced to resign from his job with the Sofia Police Directorate.

In the aftermath of Tsvetanov's order, the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily reported that all mayors they were able to talk to declared full readiness to donate, but had no idea where the money would come from.

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Tags: Dimitar Georgiev, Interior Minister, Deputy Interior Minister, interior ministry, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, donations, European Commission, cooperation and verification mechanism, Tsar Kiro, Kiril Rashkov, Katunitsa, Hristo Biserov, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, Roma clan
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