Two courts issued orders to impound the property of Vesselin Georgiev, a former head of Bulgaria’s road infrastructure agency, at the request of Bulgaria’s asset forfeiture commission, the commission said in a statement on January 4.
Separate rulings by the Sofia City Court and Sliven District Court were needed because Georgiev and his spouse owned properties both in Sofia and the town of Nova Zagora. In additional to an apartment and garage in Sofia, these included 108 properties, mainly agricultural land, around Nova Zagora.
Georgiev became notorious in January 2008, when local media reported that he handed contracts, in breach of public tender regulations, to a company where his brother was one of the directors, worth 120 million leva. Georgiev himself was a former director at the company prior to taking the job at the agency, then the National Road Infrastructure Fund.
The highly-publicised row cost Georgiev his job, but also resulted in the suspension all European Union funding to the fund. It was the first in a series of controversies that prompted the European Commission, several months later, to freeze funding under all pre-accession aid programmes based on suspicions that the money was misused.
An internal investigation by the Finance Ministry said at the time that “based on the results of the investigation, one can conclude that Vesselin Georgiev could have found himself in a situation in which a conflict of interest would arise or manifest itself” – highly damning language given the unwillingness of Bulgaria’s public institutions to acknowledge any instance of conflict of interest.
In addition to real estate, the impounding covers shares owned in various companies and bonds worth a total 300 000 leva. The total value of property impounded has been estimated at 4.1 million leva.
The lawsuit against Georgiev has been delayed repeatedly over the years, but was finally heard for the first time in December 2012.
(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)