Bulgarian Prosecutor-General moves against foundation allegedly linked to Mestan’s DOST party

Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov had lodged an application in the district court in the southern city of Kurdhzali to shut down the Batu Platform Association, an NGO that prosecutors allege illegally funded Lyutvi Mestan’s DOST party campaign in the May early parliamentary elections.

In those elections, the breakaway party led by the former leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms fell below the four per cent threshold for winning seats in the National Assembly, getting 100 479 votes, about 2.86 per cent.

There was controversy in the elections because DOST was allegedly strongly backed by Ankara. Mestan had been ousted from his posts in the MRF after taking the side of Turkey in its late 2015 dispute with Russia.

In a statement on October 20, the Prosecutor’s Office said that in the course of an investigation into a crime against citizens’ political rights, the Dobrich District Prosecutor’s Office had found that the Batu association had received a transfer of 100 000 euro via a Turkish bank.

Prosecutors said that the Batu association had used the money to buy food products, including sugar, flour, rice and macaroni, which had been put into packages each worth 30 leva (about 15 euro).

According to prosecutors, these packages were distributed to several cities and towns in Bulgaria. The distribution, receipt and storage had been done by Batu with the “active co-operation” of members and supporters of DOST.

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