US sanctions: Bulgaria posts new list of affected persons

Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry published on June 15 a new list of persons who fall or could potentially fall within the scope of the sanctions announced by the US Treasury Department against individuals and companies Washington says are linked to corruption.

The move is the Bulgarian caretaker administration’s latest response to the June 2 announcements by the US of sanctions against Delyan Peevski, Vassil Bozhkov, Ilko Zhelyazkov and others.

The Finance Ministry listed 21 names, based on information that was available and verified regarding their association, including as partners, shareholders or part of the management of companies linked to those sanctioned. This information covered the period from 2016 to 2021, the ministry said.

The list includes Peevski’s mother Irena Krasteva, previously listed as the owner of media companies linked to him, as well as other individuals associated with companies with which Peevski was involved.

It also includes individuals linked to Bozhkov, among them his former business associate Stefan Naidenov and his sons Boyan and Tsvetomir, as well as Miroslav Iliev, a member of the management of Bozhkov’s Nove Holding.

The Finance Ministry reiterated that the list compiled by a Bulgarian working group in response to the US action under the Magnitsky Act could be amended depending on findings by the State Agency for National Security and the National Revenue Agency.

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has instructed state-owned enterprises to ensure that they have no connection with people and companies affected by the US sanctions, so that they do not fall foul of these sanctions.

Those associates may not apply for tenders under the Public Procurement Act.

Bulgarian National Television reported caretaker Finance Minister Assen Vassilev as telling a briefing that the government was using a much narrower definition of connectivity than in the US law, in order to limit the circle of persons who could be potentially “contagious” to the system of state-owned enterprises.

Otherwise, the whole country would have fallen inside, he was reported as saying.

In the absence of a framework regulated by legislation, the Cabinet instruction covers only state-owned enterprises and not private companies and banks. Central Bulgarian National Bank had already issued instructions, Vassilev said.

“There is a great risk of doing business with these people,” Vassilev said of the list posted on June 15.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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