The District Prosecution Office in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Bourgas said on February 11 2013 that it is laying criminal charges against Nessebur mayor Nikolai Dimitrov and chief architect Valentin Dimov for alleged irregularities in land sales and building permission in a protected sand dune area.
They are accused of abuse of office. A guilty verdict could mean up to eight years in prison.
The construction project in Nessebur became a national cause célèbre in Bulgaria after conservation activists alerted the media to clearance and building work in a sand dune area in Nessebur meant to be a protected area.
Government intervention on the orders of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov brought work at the sand dune area to a halt in December 2012, pending official investigations.
In January 2013, Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naidenov formally requested the Prosecutor-General to investigate transactions involving change of use of state forestry land from 2003 to the present.
The Nessebur controversy led to a number of senior officials being fired.
Dimitrov is specifically charged with failing to exercise control over officials, leading to the construction permit being issued. Dimov, whose post as chief architect is equivalent to that of town planner, is charged with breach of duty by approving investment projects in a protected area.
(Photo: Bin im Garten)