The second reading of amendments that will enable the Dossier Commission to investigate and announce any links between Bulgaria’s credit millionaires and the country’s communist-era State Security was approved by Parliament on October 26 2012, after months of delay that frustrated those who wanted to see the alleged links between the spy service and the suddenly wealthy come to light.
Credit millionaires were a phenomenon of Bulgaria’s post-Zhivkov transition era. Manipulation of the banking system made a number of people suddenly, if illicitly, rich. Some of those involved in the schemes and who now live in foreign countries are the subject of extradition requests byBulgariathat have dragged on for years.
The amendments that would open the way for the Dossier Commission to publicly name credit millionaires with State Security links were approved by Parliament’s legal affairs committee in March. The first reading was approved by the House in April.
The amendments were proposed by the right-wing minority Blue Coalition, which several months ago tabled the changes to the Access to and Disclosure of Documents and Announcing Affiliation of Bulgarian Citizens to State Security and the Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian People’s Army Act.
The Dossier Commission, set up by statute in 2006, already has announced a range of people who were agents and collaborators with State Security, in various government ministries and state institutions (notably the Foreign Ministry, which had an unusually high proportion), in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and among Muslim and Jewish religious leaders, in senior posts in the public and private media, in educational institutions and business associations.
UnderBulgaria’s constitution and the 2006 statute, disclosure that someone had worked with State Security does not result in lustration.
Checking the credit millionaires will be a large-scale task.
Quite how large emerged from information acquired previously from central Bulgarian National Bank. The Dossier Commission will have to complete the task of checking more than 10 500 companies and individuals listed in 1997 as debtors in terms of the Act on information regarding non-performing loans.
Dossier Commission head Evtim Kostadinov has said that the point of the exercise is to bring into the light the truth about serious financial crimes duringBulgaria’s transition to democracy.
The crucial turning point that was reached with the National Assembly’s approval on October 26 is that it will now be possible for the Dossier Commission to publicly name those involved in lucrative dodgy deals who had ties to State Security.
The Commission began work on the investigation last year but now is close to the point that it will be able begin making announcements, after the law is signed by the President and promulgated in the State Gazette.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)