Bulgaria's Caretaker PM Attempts to Resolve Dispute between Customs Agency, Fuel Retailer
Bulgaria's caretaker Prime Minister Marin Raykov has described the dispute between the Customs Agency head and fuel retailer Lukoil Bulgaria as a "micro-drama", stressing that the disagreement was not supposed to affect common people.
Speaking Wednesday at a press conference, Raykov informed that he had discussed the situation with the license of Lukoil at a meeting with Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov and Lukoil Bulgaria CEO Valentin Zlatev on Tuesday.
Raykov, as cited by the Focus news agency, suggested that sensitive situation required urgent steps to find a solution.
He claimed that the interests of the state had to be preserved, amid a strict observance of the law, at the same time preventing a disruption to fuel supplies to filling stations, especially before the Easter holidays and the upcoming May 12 parliamentary elections.
Raykov backed the steps taken by the Customs Agency head, whom he defined as "a very honest man" but emphasized that the situation had to be resolved.
Regarding the serious accusations leveled against the authorities in a Wednesday media statement of the Customs Agency, Bulgaria's caretaker Prime Minister noted that Tanov was not to blame for voicing his discontent with a court decision.
Raykov informed that the long and difficult meeting with Tanov and Zlatev had resulted in an agreement to conduct an urgent inspection.
He added that customs officials would check Wednesday whether Lukoil's measuring equipment was in place and functioned in line with the legal requirements.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Customs Agency came up with a condemnatory media statement commenting on the stopped preliminary execution of the decision to suspend a license of fuel retailer Lukoil Bulgaria EOOD for running a tax warehouse.
The license was granted to the company for operating the pipeline from the Burgas-based Lukoil Neftochim refinery to the Iliyantsi petrol base and the six storage facilities connected to it – Karnobat, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv, Vetren, Ihtiman, and Iliyantsi.
The customs authority argued Wednesday that the judicial system had wasted a precious opportunity to dispel doubts plaguing Bulgarian society that the country was technically being governed by an oligarchy.
The Customs Agency suggested that the court decision had demonstrated that the law had bowed to the power of monopoly.
Late on Tuesday, the Sofia Administrative Court stopped the preliminary execution of an order of Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov suspending the tax warehouse operator license of Lukoil.
The court informed that potential punitive measures against Lukoil would be reviewed in separate proceedings.
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