Demotion for Bulgaria's Controversial Customs Head

Society | October 21, 2010, Thursday // 15:41|  views

The Head of the Customs in the border town of Svilengrad, Stefan Marashev, has agreed to being demoted over a property scandal. Photo by

The Head of the Customs in the border town of Svilengrad, Stefan Marashev, has submitted a request to be moved from the post and to remain in office as an expert.

Marashev had made the decision after a private talk with the Director of the Bulgarian Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov.

Last week, upon the disclosure of pictures made by employees of the National Revenue Agency, who flew in a helicopter over 45 properties, constructed illegally on State lands on the shore of the Ivaylovgrad dam in southern Bulgaria, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov asked for the dismissals of Marashev and of the Head of the State Agency for National Construction Control, Ivan Simidchiev.

While Simidchiev resigned the very next day, Marashev refused to comply, prompting the Customs Agency to start proceedings against him.

On Wednesday, Tanov told the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, the preliminary probe failed to collect any evidence in order to press legal charges against the Svilengrad Customs head, adding a State servant can be dismissed against his or her will only if there is proof of criminal breaking of rules, otherwise the Court would reinstate the said individual in one to two months.

Meanwhile, the audit of National Revenue Agency to see if the value of Marashev's property corresponds to his declared income continues.

Marashev was already fired once, in 2008, from the post of Head of the Svilengrad Customs, but was reinstated by the Supreme Administrative Court. The reason for the ousting at the time was that he, allegedly, refunded an excise duty in the amount of BGN 10 M without having the right to do so.

The vacation village Stavri Dimovo, on the banks of the Ivaylovgrad dam, is better known by its nickname – The Customs Agents Village over the luxury mansion properties belonging to people from Sofia and the southeastern border town of Svilengrad, who are mostly senior civil servants such as Customs agents, traffic cops as well as businessmen.

Marashev has a villa there as well.

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Tags: Vanyo Tanov, villa, Ivaylovgrad, Ivaylovgrad water reservoir, Stefan Marashev, Svilengrad, Agency for National Construction Control, Svilengrad customs office, customs agents, National Revenue Agency, videotape, properties, NRA, luxury real estate, taxes, tax crime, declared income, income, proof of income, Plovdiv, Markovo, Belashtitsa, Ivan Simidchiev, Rosen Plevneliev, Boyko Borisov, DANS, Milka Gecheva, Simeon Djankov


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