Bulgaria's Top President Runner Declined Reporting Extortion Scam

Domestic | September 9, 2011, Friday // 19:24|  views

The GERB presidential candidate and ex Bulgarian Regional Minister, Rosen Plevneliev, had refused to report a municipal extortion scam at the time he was a private businessman. Photo by BGNES

The presidential candidate of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party, and ex Regional Minister, Rosen Plevneliev, has declined to become a witness in a municipal extortion scam.

The story was told by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, head of the GERB election headquarters, speaking for journalists in the second largest city of Plovdiv during the seminar "Elections 2011 – Mobilizing Institutions and Citizens for Honest and Free Election Process."

The seminar is organized by the NGO Institute for Public Environment Development and the America for Bulgaria Foundation.

Tsvetanov made the revelation in an attempt to present Plevneliev as an honest businessman, who would never accept a bribe or participate in slander.

The Minister told the media that he first met Plevneliev in 2007, in his capacity as Deputy Mayor of the capital Sofia, through an acquaintance who introduced the two. At that time, Plevneliev told him that three municipal councilmen from the City Hall, known as the "municipal brokers," asked him for a bribe of EUR 500 000 to secure his ownership of a small land plot in the Sofia Business Park, one of the top projects of the GERB presidential nomination as a businessman, before entering politics.

The plot was property of the City Hall and Plevneliev needed it to finalize the project.

Tsvetanov further informed that after learning about the case he advised the now-presidential hopeful to report it to the police, but the latter declined on the grounds "he did not want to participate in such mechanisms."

When asked by a reporter why, after all, this information had never reached the authorities and the prosecutor's office, the Interior Minister made a U-turn and said that this had not been a case of true corruption, but rather "a proposal."

The Bulgarian law, however, namely the Penal Code, mandates officials and requires from citizens to report any such cases.

Plevneliev is yet to comment on Tsvetanov's revelations.

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Tags: GERB, presidential candidate, Regional Minister, Rosen Plevneliev, municipal, extortion scam, businessman, business park, land plot, Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Institute for Public Environment Development, America for Bulgaria Foundation, Elections 2011 – Mobilizing Institutions and Citizens for Honest and Free Election Process


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