Bulgaria Registry Agency Ex CEO Gets 5 Years in Jail

Crime | October 17, 2013, Thursday // 11:48
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Registry Agency Ex CEO Gets 5 Years in Jail Violeta Nikolova, former CEO of the Registry Agency, was found guilty of fraud on Thursday and heard a much harsher sentence than what prosecutors had called for. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Sofia City Court has sentenced to five years in jail the former executive director of Bulgaria’s Registry Agency, who has been charged with fraud.

A day earlier prosecutors demanded a three-year suspended sentence with five years of probation for Violeta Nikolova.

They have insisted that the court bans her from public offices, strip her of the right to exercise her profession and seize her property.

The Head of the Agency's Administrative Services, Human Resources and PR Department, Rayna Ivanova, and the Financial Controller, Totka Stoilova, have been charged as well.

Ivanova was acquitted by the court, while Stoilova was sentenced to two years in jail and imposed a fine of BGN 3000.

According to the prosecution, from July 19 to December 19, 2011, Nikolova with Ivanova as accomplice, have embezzled BGN 53 000 from the budget of the Agency.

Stoilova was charged for not doing her duties as financial controller, which inflicted damages to the Agency in the amount of BGN 53 000.

Nikolova was dismissed in February 2012 over the poor results of the audit of the institution and the substantial financial incentives she had awarded to herself.

It was revealed that she had received a total of BGN 73 000 in bonus payments for 2011, BGN 25 000 of which had arrived after an order by Margaritra Popova, then-Justice Minister and now Vice President, while the remaining BGN 48 000 had been ordered by Nikolova in person.

In her property declaration filed at the time she was still CEO, she has listed "nothing to declare." Nikolova has also declared EUR 100 in her bank account, while her husband declared EUR 900.

In 2011, however, she has acquired an apartment for BGN 106 000, through a mortgage loan. Nikolova also has a BGN 20 000 consumer loan.

She was appointed CEO of the Registry Agency in October 2010 and is remembered by the long lines of people before the Agency's offices.

Shortly after Nikolova's dismissal, it was reported that Bulgaria was facing a fine of EUR 800 000 by the European Commission over a delay in the introduction of new software at the Registry Agency, which would have allowed the online registration of European companies in the Agency's database.

The public procurement tender for the software was launched in March 2010 only to get suspended three months later due to a funding shortage.

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Tags: Customs Agency, NRA, National Revenue Agency, registration, European Commission, bonus payment, Registry Agency, trade register, Violeta Nikolova, power, abuse, embezzlement, bonuses, bonus, charges, Prosecutor's Office
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