Bulgarian prosecutors said on October 19 that they had laid charges of criminal mismanagement against Petar Dimitrov, who was economy and energy minister in the socialist Stanishev cabinet from 2007 to 2009, in connection with a deal involving the Belene nuclear power station project that cost the state financial damage of more than 77 million euro.
The announcement of the prosecution of Dimitrov came a day after prosecutors charged former National Electric Company, NEK, executive directors Lyubomir Velkov and Mardik Papazyan regarding the sale of equipment from the unfinished Belene project to Russian company Atomstroyexport.
Prosecutors allege that in 2007, Dimitrov, as the representative of the ministry that is the sole owner of NEK’s capital, deliberately failed to exercise proper control over what Velkov and Papazyan were doing.
Dimitrov spent about an hour at the Sofia headquarters of the prosecution on the morning of October 19 being questioned.
He was ordered to sign in regularly to confirm his presence in the country, which he was banned from leaving.
Emerging from the prosecutor’s office after being questioned, Dimitrov, asked by a reporter why he had been there, replied: “Probably to participate in the election campaign” – a reference to Bulgaria’s upcoming November 2016 presidential elections.
He said that he could not say why prosecutors were acting against him now over something that had happened nine years ago.
Dimitrov said that there had been no financial damage because the equipment, after 20 years, had been sold at a price higher than that for which it had been bought, and there had been no buyer for the old equipment other than Atomstroyexport.
Prosecutors have indicated that by the end of this week, there will be further announcements of prosecutions in connections with the deal.
On October 18, Bulgaria’s Energy Minister announced that Dimitrov and two other former ministers in the 2005/09 Stanishev cabinet, Roumen Ovcharov and Assen Gagauzov, would be removed from the managing and supervisory bodies of three energy companies.