Bulgaria Freezes Assets of Notorious Ex Road Fund Head
A Bulgarian court has frozen over BGN 4 M in assets of the notorious former head of the state-owned National Road Infrastructure Fund, who is standing trial for office abuse, an anti-crime commission said on Friday.
The commission for the recovery of criminal assets said in a statement it had demanded a freeze on real estate, stakes in companies, bonds and bank accounts of Veselin Georgiev and his wife and would seek their confiscation if he was convicted.
Veselin Georgiev became publicly known as "Batko" (the Bulgarian word for an elder brother) after he was charged with awarding contracts worth tens of millions of levs to companies run by two of his brothers.
A Bulgarian court lifted in the summer the ban on travels abroad imposed on him, citing health problems.
Speaking in the court room, Georgiev said he suffered from grave health problems, which made it imperative for him to undergo tests and treatment in Munich, Germany.
The judges respected his request, saying the bail of BGN 10 000, which Georgiev paid a year ago, stands a guarantee that he will not run away from prosecution.
Vesselin Georgiev has been charged with awarding contracts worth tens of millions of levs to companies run by two of his brothers in he period October 2006 - November 2007.
The trial has been repeatedly postponed after either the defendant or witnesses failed to appear at the court room.
The controversy that led to the freezing of the EUR 723 M earmarked to improve Bulgaria's dilapidated roads broke out following an investigation by the newspaper Kapital.
Georgiev resigned from his post under pressure from the media.
This is one of a number of large-scale schemes for siphoning public funds for the personal benefit of close relatives of high-ranking servants, which have been unveiled over the last three years in Bulgaria and which Brussels follows closely.
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