Bulgarian prosecutors press charges against state news agency BTA chief

Bulgaria’s prosecutor’s office said on October 19 that it has indicted the head of the Bulgarian state news agency BTA Maxim Minchev on charges of entering into an unfavourable deal, causing damages of 93 600 leva, or about 47 850 euro, to BTA.

Minchev is accused of signing two contracts, covering the period from February 2016 to January 2017, with a bottled water company, under which the company provided its products in exchange for advertising on BTA.

The prices for the bottled water were several times higher than market prices and BTA did not use any objective criteria in selecting the provider, nor did it call a public tender, the prosecutor’s office statement said.

Speaking to Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), Minchev described the indictment as a “huge misunderstanding.”

“This so-called ‘unfavourable deal’ provided free bottled water for the agency’s employees and guests as a barter in exchange for advertising. There were no payments under this contract and no public money was spent,” Minchev told BNR.

“After the investigation started, we scrapped the contract and now the BTA budget is strained because we began buying water for all employees,” he said.

According to prosecutors, should Minchev be found guilty, he could face between one and six years in jail, as well as a ban from holding public office.

(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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