Bulgaria Ethnic Turks Leader Stashed Sleazy Fee in Bank Account

Domestic | June 28, 2011, Tuesday // 20:34|  views

Ahmed Dogan. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Ahmed Dogan, leader of the opposition ethnic Turkish party, has put aside in a bank account the huge consulting fee, which he received on hydro energy projects while his party was in power, triggering a scandal and a trial.

This emerges from the declaration that he has submitted to the audit institution, which each year makes public the property and revenues those in high-ranking state positions, have acquired over the last year.

In 2010, Dogan declared incomes totaling BGN 1,100,154, which has swollen a year later to BGN 1 241 674 thanks to the interests paid. No other change has occurred in his officially declared incomes and acquisitions.

This is the case with the majority of the ministers. The declarations make clear that the members of the government do not rely solely on wages, but have additional incomes too. The saved money is put in deposit accounts.

In the middle of February the Supreme Administrative Court acquitted Ahmed Dogan, saying he has not acted against the public interests by receiving the sky-rocket fee.

According to the judges the prominent politician, who has no education to perform the duties that brought back the generous award, had not been obliged to make public the contracts as he signed them before the conflict of interest law was enforced.

The new center-right government of Bulgaria was elected on an anti-corruption mandate in June 2009 and on the promise to bring to justice those involved in huge-scale corruption schemes.

The latest embezzlement allegations against Ahmed Dogan have been widely considered to be a litmus test for the government's willingness to do so in practice.

If found guilty, Dogan faced a fine from BGN 1 000 to BGN 3 000. The Supreme Court could have also deprived him of the payment he received as an expert.

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Tags: Dogan, Ahmed, embezzlement, Supreme Administrative Court, Tsankov Kamak, hydro-power plant, conflict of interest


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