Bulgaria’s new energy regulator chief owned company illegally selling cigarettes online

Less than 24 hours after her appointment was announced at a Cabinet meeting, it emerged that the new head of Bulgaria’s State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, Yuliana Ivanova, had owned a company illegally selling cigarettes online.

Ivanova’s appointment was announced on February 13 2013 by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, who two weeks earlier fired the previous head of the commission for failing to act to bring Bulgaria in line with requirements towards energy market liberalisation.

Ivanova, who has taken office amid national controversy about high electricity and heating bills, acknowledged that the company that she had owned had been selling cigarettes online illegally but said that she had not been aware that this was illegal.

Speaking to journalists on February 14, she acknowledged that she was at fault and said that she was prepared to face the consequences.

Ivanova said that two years after she left the energy field, she had decided to set up an online shop selling foodstuffs. After she had seen reports that selling cigarettes online was illegal, she had ordered this part of the company’s activity stopped. Her lawyers had failed to advise her that the online sale of cigarettes was illegal.

She said that she was no longer manager of the firm and that her son had taken on this role.

“I apologise to Prime Minister Borissov for what has happened,” Ivanova said.

Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister Delyan Dobrev said that the law would be observed. The company’s lawyers had made a mistake but it was the chief executive who was ultimately responsible, he said. However, the law did not seem to provide a penalty for the offence, Dobrev said.

(Photo: amr safey/sxc.hu)




The Sofia Globe staff

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