US sanctions on Peevski, Bozhkov: More reactions

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms said that it is expecting facts and evidence that motivated the decision by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to impose sanctions on former MRF MP Delyan Peevski.

Until then, the MRF remains in solidarity with Peevski’s personal position, the party said.

Reacting to OFAC’s June 2 announcement, Peevski described it as “unacceptable, biased and inconsistent with the spirit and meaning of this law”.

“This is because I have not done anything to violate internationally recognised human rights, I am not a civil servant and I have not been involved in corrupt practices, and the announced reasons for the sanctions do not contain a single true fact,” Peevski said.

Vassil Bozhkov, also subject to the sanctions announced by the US on June 2, said in a post on Facebook that he thanked the US for “paying attention to my signal”.

“It was the first official evidence of racketeering and extortion on a particularly large scale by Boiko Borissov and Vladislav Goranov,” Bozhkov said, referring to, respectively, the former prime minister and former finance minister.

GERB leader Boiko Borissov told a news conference on June 3 that his relations with Peevski were “purely political” and always had been connected to regions where there were mayors from the MRF.

“We have no companies, no common business, or anything,” Borissov said.

“We have never received a penny from Bozhkov – never,” he said.

Borissov said that for him, it was more important was how President Roumen Radev would explain why there were members of Bozhkov’s party in his caretaker cabinet.

On Facebook, cable television presenter and ITN party leader Slavi Trifonov said that everything that had been said in the US Treasury Department statement had been known long before by Bulgarian civil society, which had expressed it in the squares and streets.

“Eight years ago, thousands of citizens in dozens of cities expressed their attitude and position towards Delyan Peevski. And they firmly defended their attitude and position for over 400 days. Just before the American report, namely last year, the civil society in Bulgaria expressed in an unequivocal way its intolerance of brutal corruption at all levels of government,” Trifonov said.

The US sanctions were nothing but support for what has already been expressed by the Bulgarian civil society, he said.

“They are an outstretched friendly hand from our partner. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the agenda in Bulgaria is not written by the reports of our loyal partners, but by the wishes and will of the Bulgarian citizens. And so it will be in the future. It is not US sanctions that will change our country, but the awakened civil society,” Trifonov said.

Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova said that the sanctions imposed on individuals and companies were a serious contribution to the fight against corruption and to the rule of law in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office said that of six individuals named in the US treasury and state departments’ statements, four had been the subject of investigations already. The office said that it would “undertake all necessary actions in line with the prosecutor’s office powers to investigate the information made public by US authorities.”

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