Prosecutors start pre-trial proceedings over opening ceremony of Plovdiv European Capital of Culture

The Plovdiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office has instituted pre-trial proceedings in connection with an alleged crime committed by the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation regarding the January opening ceremony of Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) reported on December 9.

Deputy Regional Prosecutor Galina Andreeva-Mincheva confirmed the pre-trial proceedings in an interview with BNR.

On January 16, it was announced that the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Plovdiv had on its own initiative started an investigation into the spending of funds for the January 12 opening ceremony.

At the time, it said that the investigation had been initiated in response to “numerous reports and comments in various media,” the statement said.

The December decision to initiate pre-trial proceedings is based on the findings of the State Financial Inspection Agency. In February this year, the prosecutor’s office commissioned the agency to review the costs of the opening event. The agency found seven violations after checking 43 contracts and 13 public contracts by the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation.

The Prosecutor’s Office said that it had started pre-trial proceedings because it considered that the findings of the financial inspectorate contained sufficient information that a crime had been committed.

Andreeva-Mincheva that evidence would be collected as to whether a crime had been committed in 2018 and whether there was an official who had concluded an agreement that resulted in significant damage to the foundation.

The Plovdiv 2019 Foundation has not yet commented. At the time that the initial investigation was announced, it denied that there had been wrongdoing.

Plans are for the closing ceremony of Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019 to be held on January 12 2020. Details of the ceremony have not yet been announced.

(Photo of the January 12 2019 opening ceremony: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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