‘Azerbaijani laundromat’ reports: Bulgarian Prosecutor-General orders probe of Mitrev

Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov has ordered an investigation into Kalin Mitrev, the country’s representative on the board of directors of the EBRD, to establish if there is any evidence of tax evasion or money laundering, the Prosecutor’s Office said on September 7.

The inspection was ordered in connection with media reports, the Prosecutor’s Office said, referring to reports by the Guardian and others based on an OCCRP investigation into the “Azerbaijani laundromat”, an alleged money-laundering and influence-buying scheme.

The inspection will be carried out by the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office and will also involve the National Revenue Agency in relation to areas that it covers, to find out any information regarding tax evasion or money laundering, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Prosecutor’s Office made the announcement on the morning of the day that the “Azerbaijani laundromat” allegations were to be discussed by Bulgaria’s Cabinet.

Mitrev received money from an Azerbaijan firm at a time that he was not employed by the EBRD.

He told the Guardian and other media that the work had been entirely legal and he had included the income in his tax returns in Bulgaria.

Mitrev, the spouse of Unesco director-general Irina Bokova, said that he was not concerned by an investigation announced on September 6 by Bulgaria’s Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov.

Mitrev said that the reports were an attack on him and his family, and described them as baseless speculation.

Regarding the consultancy work he did on a large hydrotechnical project for an Azerbaijan company, he said that questioning his work and his ability to do it was absurd.

Bokova strongly denied that there was a conflict between her husband’s work and her UN role, the Guardian said. She had no knowledge of her husband’s business affairs, she was quoted as saying.

“As the general manager of a UN agency, my duty is to develop sound working relationships with all members of the organization in accordance with the policies set up by the Member States. Azerbaijan is not an exception in this respect,” Bokova said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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