Bulgaria's Prosecuting Authority Opens Pre-Trial Proceedings over Fake Ballots
According to unconfirmed reports of private TV station TV7, Bulgaria's prosecuting authority has opened pre-trial proceedings into an election fraud case.
Officers of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security (DANS) seized a total of 35 000 fake ballots from an illegal printing house in Kostinbrod one day ahead of the May 12 parliamentary elections.
The operation was conducted Friday night at the Kostinbrod-based printing house near Sofia, according to reports of Sega daily and the BGNES news agency.
TV7 reported Saturday that the Interior Ministry had been deliberately kept out of the operation.
The printing house is owned bythe Multiprint company of Yordan Bonchev, municipal councilor in Kostinbrod from center-right party GERB, and his wife, Olga Boncheva.
Bonchev is said to be an ally of former Interior Minister and Deputy Chair of GERB Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
The Multiprint company won the contract for printing the ballots for the May 12 early elections.
The value of the deal is estimated at around BGN 800 000 for a total of 7.8 million ballots.
Multiprint was to finish printing the ballots 3 days before Election Day for all local administrations, except for the polling stations abroad, which were to receive the ballots two weeks before Election Day.
Approached by journalists of TV7 to comment on the raid, Bonchev denied that the authorities had seized fake ballots.
He argued that DANS and the prosecuting authority had inspected the implementation of the public procurement contract.
Bonchev suggested that the inspection had found a stash of flawed ballots.
He specified that some 330 000 ballots for Triadista district in Sofia had had to be replaced last week due to a flaw.
He rejected having been arrested or questioned.
Bulgarians go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new Parliament.
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