Former Bulgarian MP denied appeal, will serve effective prison sentence

Former Bulgarian MP Mithat Tabakov lost the final appeal to have a five-year prison sentence overturned and was in custody at a Varna penitentiary facility, it emerged on February 4.

Tabakov received the sentence in 2011, when he was a sitting as MP for the predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), on charges of criminal breach of trust for a contract he had signed in 2009, while mayor of Dulovo in north-eastern Bulgaria. Deputy mayor Altan Chaushev was handed a four-year jail sentence in the same trial.

Tabakov appealed the sentence in the Sofia Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Cassation, with the latter ruling against him in January, reports in Bulgarian media said. Tabakov was taken to jail on February 1.

This marks the first instance in which a former or current Bulgarian MP has been convicted on corruption charges and handed an effective sentence.

Tabakov was also convicted in October 2012 in Sofia City Court of accepting a 10 000 leva bribe from a Silistra water company in 2004, while mayor of Dulovo. He was sentenced to four years in jail, but appealed saying that the sum was not a bribe but a loan to repair his car.

He and another former MRF MP Gyunay Sefer (neither one was included on the party’s list in the May 2013 parliament election) have also been charged with fraud arising from transactions in May 2005 in which Sefer, as manager and representative of the company Bulmex, received 90 609 leva (about 45 304 euro) from state company Public Investment Projects. Prosecutors said that Sefer’s intention was embezzlement.

The sum was for a road repair project that was never carried out. Tabakov and Sefer are alleged by prosecutors to have falsified documents while Tabakov was mayor of Dulovo.

Tabakov failed to attend the latest hearing in this case on February 4, prompting the announcement that he lost his final appeal in the earlier lawsuit and was now serving his sentence in Varna.

(Photo: Jason Morisson/ 



The Sofia Globe staff

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