Sofia City Court has remanded in custody Nikolai Hristov, head of the Scientific Research Fund at the Ministry of Education, who was arrested earlier on a charge of murder.
Hristov (57), a former three-time member of Parliament, was taken into custody by police on July 14 in connection with the shooting death of a 55-year-old man, whose identity has not been released.
Reports said that Hristov earlier had told police that the shooting was an accident in which the other man had shot himself. However, Hristov was arrested on the basis of forensic evidence, it is alleged.
The court initially ordered Hristov to be kept in 72-hour detention but on July 17 this was amended to permanent custody pending the outcome of court proceedings. Information about the arrest of Hristov and the allegations against him emerged in an Interior Ministry statement on July 22 which, however – in line with ministry practice – identified him only by his age and initials.
Should he be found guilty, he will face imprisonment for between 10 and 20 years.
Hristov has headed the fund since his predecessor was dismissed because of alleged financial irregularities. In turn, according to media reports in recent weeks, an audit, the findings of which were presented on June 3, claimed that Hristov had failed to properly manage fund allocations for basic research.
Earlier reports quoted Education Minister Todor Tanev as saying that the findings of the audit were “disturbing”. However, Hristov presented him with information that contradicted the findings of the report, and Tanev ordered a further investigation, including an external audit.