Espionage allegations: Bulgaria bans Russian billionaire Malofeev for 10 years
The head of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security has imposed a 10-year ban on Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeev entering the country, Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov told Parliament on September 11.
Malofeev is among those who allegedly had been in contact with Nikolai Malinov, the head of Bulgaria’s Russophile Movement, who has been charged with spying for Russia and with money laundering. Malinov denies the allegations.
The announcement of the ban on Malofeev comes a day after SANS imposed a 10-year ban on former KGB general Leonid Reshetnikov from entering Bulgaria. Reshetnikov also has been named in the investigation into alleged espionage by Malinov.
Tsatsarov rejected claims that the investigation was a political action before Bulgaria’s autumn 2019 municipal elections and emphasised that it was not an attack against the Russophiles Movement.
“I cannot agree with the statement that this is a political action…related to the upcoming local elections, winning political dividends or anything else. What we are doing is trying to do our job,” Tsatsarov said.
Malofeev is chairman of the NGO Society for the Development of Russian Historical Education Double-Headed Eagle, chairs the board of Tsargrad media group and is founder of the Marshall Capital Partners international investment fund.
In July 2014, Ukraine initiated a criminal case against Malofeev, alleging that he was financing illegal military groups in eastern Ukraine. The same year, he was placed on an EU sanctions list.
A December 2014 statement by the US Treasury Department said that Malofeev was one of the main sources of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea.
“Malofeyev is being designated because he is responsible for or complicit in, or has engaged in, actions or polices that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine and has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic,” the US Treasury Department said.