Emil Dimitrov, an MP for Bulgaria’s ruling party GERB, is being investigated by the Cabinet’s commission tasked with preventing conflict of interest, the commission’s chairperson Filip Zlatanov said, confirming earlier media reports on June 26.
Dimitrov has often been accused of attempting to push through lobbyist laws and has recently become notorious as the author of the controversial amendments to the Forestry Act that prompted large protests in Sofia.
Zlatanov declined to go into details concerning his investigation, saying that he was forbidden by law, but said that the investigation had been going on for several weeks and that the commission would announce the results within a month or two.
While details were not available, media reports claimed that the investigation was linked to the amendments to the Forestry Act that he sponsored. Overall, the changes relaxed regulatory oversight over hunting preserves and logging.
Dimitrov’s companies manage, on concession, two of the largest hunting preserves in Bulgaria and he also owns several forest properties, according to a statement released in May by a conservation group.
Dimitrov told Bulgarian National Radio that he had sold all his stakes in such companies and no longer had any business interests in the logging industry. He said he was confident that he would not be found in conflict of interest, but even if that was the case, he was not overly concerned with being fined.
The penalty for conflict of interest, under Bulgarian law, is a fine ranging from 5000 leva to 7000 leva, rising to between 7000 leva and 10 000 leva for repeat offense. As an elected official, Dimitrov cannot be sacked from Parliament unless he is convicted of committing a crime.
(Photo: Jaime Pérez)