Prosecutors: Charges against Vassil Bozhkov now number 11

Written by on February 13, 2020 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Prosecutors: Charges against Vassil Bozhkov now number 11

The number of criminal charges against controversial Bulgarian businessman Vassil Bozhkov now adds up to 11, it emerged from a statement by the Prosecutor-General’s spokesperson Siika Mileva.

Two further charges, of trading in influence and unlawful possession of items of cultural value, had been added to existing charges, Mileva said on February 13.

Bozhkov, who denies wrongdoing, is reported to be in custody in the United Arab Emirates after leaving Bulgaria at the beginning of February.

Mileva said that an extradition request for Bozhkov, which exceeds 200 pages, was being translated into Arabic and should be submitted to the UAE in a few days, Bulgarian National Television reported.

On January 29, Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev said that Bozhkov was facing seven charges, without naming them. According to reports in Bulgarian media at the time, these included heading an organised crime group, extortion and attempted bribery.

February 13 media reports said that the charges against Bozhkov also included failure to pay taxes due under gambling legislation, money laundering, attempted bribery of an official and incitement to malfeasance in office. As at February 13, the prosecutor’s office still has made no official announcement detailing the charges against Bozhkov.

Bulgarian media said on February 12 that the National Revenue Agency had imposed a distraint on Bozhkov’s shares in at least two of his companies. The order does not constitute a seizure of property or limit his ability to control the companies, but only prevents him selling them.

On February 11, it emerged from an announcement by the Specialized Criminal Court that a current and a former member of Bulgaria’s Gambling Commission have been charged with involvement in an organised crime group allegedly headed by Bozhkov.

Plamen Georgiev was a member of the commission at the time that it was headed by Ognemir Mitev, who is reported to be among those taken into custody in a succession of prosecutors’ raids on the commission. Todor Markov has headed the control activities department since 2019. Both deny wrongdoing.

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