Prosecutors probe alleged fraud involving Bulgarian Orthodox Church real estate

Prosecutors have searched two notary offices in Sofia as part of an investigation into illegal transactions involving properties, some of which are owned by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The investigation began after an approach by Antonii, Bulgarian Orthodox Church Metropolitan of Western and Central Europe.

One of the notary offices searched is on Evlogi i Hristo Georgievi Boulevard in Sofia, in connection with tax evasion, document fraud and money laundering.

Pre-trial proceedings began in mid-June.

The Prosecutor’s Office said that after Metropolitan Antonii filed the report, there was an investigation by the anti-economic crimes squad, which resulted in evidence being found of counterfeit documents being used for property transactions.

Sofia City Prosecutor Emilia Rusinova said that the unlawful acquisitions of real estate involved forged wills. Officials and notaries are under investigation.

According to the Metropolitan and his lawyer, the “property mafia” had tried to appropriate the property that had been legally donated to the diocese and urgent steps had been taken.

Counsel for Metropolitan Antonii said that since an investigation is currently under way, no further statements would be made, to prevent the investigation being obstructed.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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