L'Express Slams at Bulgaria's Justice System over Ex-Min's French Benefits Affair
Instead of launching a probe into former Bulgarian minister Ivan Danov, a man suspected of abusing France's social system, magistrates in Sofia has been chasing after people inquired over the affair, France's L'Express writes [FR].
In 2013 the daily made headlines in both France and Bulgaria by telling a story about Ivan Danov, Minister of Investment Planning under the previous Bulgarian government, had signed in France documents arguing he was unemployed, currently residing in France and looking for a job. Documents by Bivol seemed to show Danov was actually in Bulgaria working at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG) in Sofia and also on his own projects as an architect.
Reports that suggested Danov had received some EUR 15 000 worth of benefits over a period of 8 or 9 months. Within that stretch of time, he never informed French authorities of "relocating", the Bivol and L'Express then argued.
Even though Danov offered to return the money, Chobanov, went on delving into the case.
That resulted later in Danov filing a complaint for slander against Chobanov - more than a year after a probe into the former minister had been carried out.
Two years after the revelations of L'Express on the story about unemployment benefits for Danov allegedly received in Paris, the Bulgarian judiciary "indeed opened an inquiry. The problem: it was targeting Atanas Chobanov," the person behind investigative website Bivol who published information about the case, the report by L'Express reads.
Though the story of Ivan Danov is amusing to compatriots, "it doesn't make the one who revealed it, Atanas Chobanov, laugh any more."
Several days ago, Bivol reported that pretrial proceedings were launched against him on suspicions of slander. Chobanov, whose lives in Sofia and Paris, may face between 1 and 6 years in prison if found guilty.
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