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Bulgaria ex-PM Borissov remains in custody after EU probes

Bulgaria ex-PM Borissov remains in custody after EU probes
Bulgarian ex-Prime Minister Boyko Borissov remained in custody on Friday following corruption investigations by European Union prosecutors as his supporters took to the streets to protest his detention

Bulgarian ex-Prime Minister Boyko Borissov remained in custody on Friday following corruption investigations by European Union prosecutors as his supporters took to the streets to protest his detention.

ザ・ 内務省 said late Thursday that Borissov was being detained for 24 hours in a nationwide police operation that also targeted other former officials.

Borissov, 62, was taken into custody along with former Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, and Borissov’s media adviser, Sevdalina Arnaudova.

Authorities haven’t provided details on any possible accusations against them. But local media reported that the cases centered on the misuse of EU funds.

“Investigations are currently underway by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, but we will see in the coming days where the Bulgarian prosecuting magistracy stands and whether it will finally side with the Bulgarian people,” Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said about Borissov’s detention, adding that the events show that “no one is above the law in Bulgaria.

Incumbent Finance Minister Assen Vassilev said Friday that authorities were working on a tip from exiled businessman Vassil Bozhkov, whose lucrative lottery business was nationalized in 2020.

Based on his tip, financial inspectors had gathered evidence on 556 million leva (280 百万ユーロ) that allegedly didn’t go into the state budget under the watch of Borissov and his financial minister.

Borissov is a founding member of the center-right GERB party, which is now in opposition.

金曜日に, all of GERB’s lawmakers walked out of a session and joined protesters in front of Bulgaria’s parliament building calling for Borissov’s release. The legislators called on “all Bulgarian citizens who believe in democratic principles” to join the protests.

“From today, every day the GERB parliamentary group will work with all legal means to provoke early parliamentary elections, which are the last opportunity to normalize the political situation and get out of the impasse in which the current government got Bulgaria into,” they declared.

The detentions came after visiting European Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi announced that European prosecutors had opened 120 investigations of fraud in Bulgaria involving EU money related to public tenders, agricultural subsidies, construction and coronavirus recovery funds.

She urged the relevant Bulgarian authorities to “team up with us, including on particularly sensitive cases”.

A former three-time prime minister between 2009 そして 2021, Borissov resigned after a newly formed party won last year’s general election pledging to uproot widespread corruption.

Borissov previously has been the subject of corruption allegations several times during his tenure, but has denied any wrongdoing and no charges had been filed against him.