Bulgarian FinMin to Discuss Offshore Bank Accounts with Cypriot Counterpart

Finance | June 19, 2013, Wednesday // 14:48|  views

Finance Minister Petar Chobanov, photo by BGNES

Finance Minister Petar Chobanov has vowed to request information about offshore accounts of Bulgarian citizens from his Cypriot counterpart.

Chobanov presented his plans on Tuesday in Parliament after Sergei Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), insisted that the state had to inspect Bulgarians' assets in the tax haven.

"After that we shall take the necessary steps in cooperation with experts of the Finance Ministry to specify the procedure through which this information can be requested and if such a practice has already been established," Chobanov stated, as cited by the Focus news agency.

He went on to specify that the issue was being discussed on an EU level, with concrete results in place, and Bulgaria simply followed suit.

"This is an ongoing discussion in Europe which has not been solved yet, steps are being taken in connection with it, and we shall not differ from European practices," Bulgaria's Finance Minister declared.

Asked whether Bulgaria had to amend tax laws to prevent money from being siphoned out of the state into off-shore company, as the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party proposed on Wednesday, he emphasized the need for a broad discussion on the matter in order to compile a preliminary assessment of the impact of the step from the opinions of interested parties and society.

The issue became topical after publications on a website for investigative journalism that Bulgarian President Plevneliev had siphoned USD 1 M from Lindner Bulgaria OOD into an off-shore company in Cyprus, thereby depriving the state budget of tax revenues.

Plevneliev adamantly rejected the accusations, saying that he had become the victim of a smear campaign due to his opposition to the appointment of notorious media tycoon Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).

Werner Hoffmann, General Manager of Lindner Bulgaria, also issued a statement rejecting the claims about Plevneliev, adding that the company had achieved good financial results under his management.

Asked whether he had inspected the condition of the state budget, Chobanov noted that there would be a hearing in Parliament on the matter soon.

"I will answer your question later. We are conducting analyses on a daily basis. I have received requests of ministries and other state administration bodies for an extra BGN 800 M," he added.

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Tags: Petar Chobanov, finance minister, Delyan Peevski, State Agency for National Security, Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, Cyprus, offshore companies, Offshoreleaks


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