Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office said on April 11 that it had instructed the country’s anti-corruption commission and National Revenue Agency to investigate following media reports about the origin of the funds for the acquisition of real estate of considerable value by opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party MP Krum Zarkov.
This was among the latest developments in the saga of investigations related to property acquisitions, that began more than three weeks ago and which has caused severe turbulence for Bulgaria’s ruling majority, leading to a number of resignations from elected posts.
Zarkov, a lawyer, is a first-time MP for the BSP and is a member of, among other parliamentary bodies, the National Assembly’s legal affairs committee. He is deputy leader of the BSP parliamentary group.
Speaking to local media on April 11, Zarkov denied any wrongdoing and said that he was not worried by the investigation.
The statement by the Prosecutor’s Office said that the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office has ordered the anti-corruption commission to require information on the real estate owned by Zarkov, the history of the ownership of each, declarations to municipalities about the properties, taxes and fees due, as well as the origin of the funds for the purchase.
Full copies of the title deeds for each transaction will be required. Zarkov will be asked to agree to the disclosure of a bank secret, and if he does not, steps will be taken under the Credit Institutions Act.
The National Revenue Agency is being asked to examine Zarkov’s tax compliance, in relation to the audited transactions cited in media reports.
Two days earlier, Zarkov said in a television interview that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party would continue to throw out resignations in theatrical fashion until the next scandal hit it. Bulgaria was in a severe political and institutional crisis, he said.
On April 11, infighting in the ruling coalition continued between United Patriots co-leader Valeri Simeonov, a former deputy prime minister, and Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova of GERB.
A day after it was announced that Simeonov’s company Skat was being investigated in connection with allegedly cut-price property deals, Simeonov said that his National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB) would be reporting a Cabinet minister to the anti-corruption commission over a property matter.
Simeonov declined to say which minister he was talking about and whether he was referring to media reports containing allegations about Angelkova. The Tourism Minister previously has denied any wrongdoing in connection with media reports about property transactions involving her and her family.
The NFSB leader said that the minister in question was living in a luxury property in Bistritsa which was not the property of the minister and which had not been declared as the law requires.
Angelkova, responding on April 11, said that it was very offensive, instead of talking about the forthcoming summer season, about the challenges facing Bulgaria’s tourism sector, and about the priorities for the sector, “to be forced to explain the untrue, improper and unverified facts of a former deputy prime minister”.
(Photos of Zarkov: BSP)