Mayor of Bulgaria’s Karlovo charged with wilful mismanagement

The Plovdiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office has laid criminal charges against Emil Kabaivanov, mayor of the town of Karlovo, with wilful mismanagement in connection with allegations that people had received payment for projects that they had not worked on.

According to prosecutors, between April 2013 and April 2014, Kabaivanov allowed people close to him to receive payments for “Flagship Projects” without having worked on them. Three people had illegally received a total of close to 23 000 leva. A further five were being investigated, prosecutors said.

During questioning, some of the witnesses initially had made false statements, the prosecutor’s office said.

Kabaivanov was given bail of 5000 leva. He had been summoned repeatedly for questioning, but had said that he was ill.

Bulgarian National Television reported Kabaivanov, a former leader of the centre-right Union of Democratic Forces, as saying that charges against him were politically-motivated, as an attack on him before the country’s mayoral and municipal elections, the first round of which will be held on October 25.

Kabaivanov said that staff had been detained illegally by the economic crimes squad and the State Agency for National Security in June, and pressured to testify against him so that he could be removed from office.

Today he refused to testify on the grounds that his lawyer had not been duly summoned.

He said that he would give no explanations and sign no documents because he had been deprived of his right to legal defence. Twice he had received a summons while in hospital, he said: “I wonder if this this not bias?”.

People knew him, he said, and what he called the “trumped-up” charges would not succeed. He blamed the attack on him on his approval rating in the polls improving.

(Archive photo: Kabaivanov, on the right)



The Sofia Globe staff

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