Bulgarian prosecution investigates owners of luxury property

Written by on January 29, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgarian prosecution investigates owners of luxury property

The prosecution in Bulgaria is investigating owners of luxury properties and expensive vehicles purchased in 2015 and 2016. According to the prosecutor’s office in Sofia, this measure is being taken in order to find out where and how the citizens in question had acquired the funds.

Another question of interest to the Bulgarian authorities is whether individuals who spent hundreds of thousands of leva actually paid taxes on their high income. Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov order the investigations.

Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported, during the two years the authorities are interested in, 245 Bulgarians had purchased property worth more than 500,000 leva (255,519 euro). A spokesperson for the Prosecutor General told the television network, the information in reports received were “a legitimate reason for initiating an investigation, as they contain data that could be considered as evidence for possible tax offenses or money laundering.”

For the National Revenue agency, spokesman Rossen Bachvarov told BNT, there were some “eloquent cases” in which people had acquired “very expensive property, but at the same time have little or no income”.

The investigation will likely pay off for Bulgaria. Every year, tax authorities collect some 70 million leva (35.77 million euro) from hidden income, while investigating the acquisition of luxury property.

While the tax authorities do expect to uncover money laundering schemes, tax evasion cases and other criminal activity, not all expensive purchases are connected to crimes, Bachvarov said.

Bulgaria is the poorest nation in the European Union. Pensioners have to survive on ridiculously low pensions, salaries are tiny, and there are hardly any jobs outside the largest cities. One million Bulgarians live abroad, where they can get far better salaries.

Mafiosi in Bulgaria, who used to show off their Bentleys and Lamborghinis a lot before 2007, seem to be keeping more of a low profile since the country joined the European Union.

Because of its failure to curb corruption and organised crime effectively, Bulgaria was placed under the EU’s special Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) in 2007, which has not been lifted until today, 11 years and 29 days after the country’s EU accession.

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