Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov has ordered the police to carry out an investigation into all guest houses in the country financed with European Union agricultural funds for rural development, to establish that they were being put to their intended use, the Prosecutor’s Office said on April 24.
The announcement followed earlier announcements of investigations into allegations of misuse of EU funds by the family of Elena Yoncheva, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party MP who is the top candidate on that party’s European Parliament election list, and former deputy economy minister Alexander Manolev. Both reject all allegations of wrongdoing.
The investigation announced on April 24 by Tsatsarov will also cover all vehicles acquired using EU funds.
The Prosecutor’s Office said that all projects involving the building of guest houses or renovation for use as guest houses would be covered by the investigation.
The investigation will involve checks on documentation and on-site inspections to check whether the guest houses are being used for their intended purpose.
Tsatsarov has instructed a team of prosecutors to manage and support the inspections, the statement said. A two-month deadline has been set for completion of the probe.
The announcement is the latest episode in a saga that has dominated headlines in Bulgaria for the past two months, the acquisition of real estate by politicians and their families.
Media reports have resulted in a number of investigations and resignations from elected office of members of Bulgaria’s ruling majority. Those subject to investigation all deny wrongdoing.
Ahead of the European Parliament elections, opinion polls have shown that the controversies about the real estate aquisitions have damaged Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, which is set for a close race with the opposition BSP in the May 26 2019 vote.
(The photo is illustrative and the houses depicted are not necessarily subject to investigation. Photo: Krassimir Kosev)