Bulgaria recalls consul controversially appointed to Valencia

Three weeks after taking office, Bulgaria’s new government is recalling a former head of the country’s anti-corruption commission who was controversially appointed as consul general in Valencia in Spain.

Plamen Georgiev was appointed to the post in Spain in August 2019 by the third Boiko Borissov government.

Speaking on January 5 2022, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov told a Cabinet meeting that recalling Georgiev meant an end to political appointments to such posts.

According to Petkov, Georgiev had been appointed to the post in Spain “purely for political reasons”.

Calling on the Cabinet to agree to the withdrawal, he said that the decision would be “a symbol that this type of political appointment is not the method and the way that things will happen from now on”.

Georgiev was elected to be the first to hold the post of head of the anti-corruption commission on March 8 2018, following the approval of a new law on the body. He was the nominee of the ruling coalition of Borissov’s GERB party and the United Patriots, and defeated a rival nominated by the then-opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.

In April 2019, he went on long leave, after the announcement of an investigation by prosecutors and the National Revenue Agency into his failure to include in an official declaration of assets a 186 sq m terrace at the building in which he lives. Georgiev denied wrongdoing.

The investigation into Georgiev was announced while the country was caught up in controversy over allegations of ruling majority figures having acquired real estate at cut-rate prices. The anti-corruption commission was investigating these allegations.

He submitted his resignation as head of the anti-corruption commission on July 31. It was overwhelmingly accepted by Parliament, while he continued to protest his innocence.

After Parliament accepted his resignation, Georgiev submitted a formal application to judicial authorities to resume his previous post as a prosecutor. That came ahead of his August appointment to the consular post in Spain.

On January 5, Bulgarian National Television quoted Georgiev as saying by telephone that he would comment on the news of his recall once the reasons for it became clear.

Georgiev said that two-thirds of Bulgaria’s consuls-general were political appointees.

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