The Plovdiv District Prosecutor’s Office has lodged two charges, of misappropriating large sums of money and of signing false documents, against the mayor of Assenovgrad, Emil Karaivanov.
Plovdiv District Prosecutor Roumen Popov said in a May 26 television interview that if found guilty, Karaivanov could face up to 20 years in jail.
Karaivanov is not currently in custody because he was released on health grounds after paying bail.
Prosecutors are to apply in court to have Karaivanov removed from office.
He is alleged to have caused serious financial damage to the municipality, of 80 000 leva (about 40 920 euro) to the municipality, allocated for fictitious cleaning of rainwater drains in the town.
According to Popov, the contract given to a company was worth about 200 000 leva, but the amount was not fully used.
Karaivanov also is being charged with breaking the Cultural Heritage Act by allowing construction at a site protected by law, without securing the agreement of the Ministry of Culture.
In the same case, Assenovgrad chief architect Konstantin Atanassov – arrested last week but now out on bail, and who this week was granted leave by Karaivanov – also faces criminal charges.
Also facing criminal charges are Vakril and Georgi Zapryanov, the father-and-son owners of a construction company, for carrying out construction work at a monument of culture without permission.
Popov said that there had been 15 search-and-seizure operations in the municipality. In all, seven people were facing charges and more than 15 had been taken into 24-hour custody.
Karaivanov was elected mayor of Assenovgrad in October 2015 on a ticket backed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, socialist splinter ABC and the Ekoglasnost party. He won a second-round victory, gaining 62.75 per cent against a rival from Boiko Borissov’s GERB.