Bulgarian MP Gives Up Immunity at Request for Prosecution

Domestic | March 21, 2016, Monday // 18:05|  views

The Bulgairan Parliament building in central Sofia. FIle photo, BGNES

A socialist MP has agreed to have her immunity from criminal prosecution lifted in relation to an ongoing probe, her party reports.

Svetla Bachvarova-Piralkova, from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), is facing up to ten years in prison if indicted and found guilty.

Earlier on Monday Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov demanded that she be stripped of her immunity as a lawmaker, alleging tht she intentionally concluded a disadvantageous transaction causing damage to an agency with the Agriculture Ministry, in line with the Article 220 (2), related to 220 (1) of the Criminal Code.

The two articles in question of the Criminal Code read that:

 (1) An official who consciously concludes a disadvantageous transaction and therefrom considerable damages ensue for the economy or for the institution, enterprise or organisation which he represents, shall be punished by deprivation of liberty for up to five years, and the court may rule deprivation of the right under Article 37 (1), sub-paragraph 6.

(2) (New, SG No. 89/1986) In particularly grave cases under the preceding paragraph, the punishment shall be deprivation of liberty from one to ten years, and the court shall rule also deprivation of the rights under Article 37 (1), sub-paragraphs 6 and 7.

According to the Chief Prosecutor's Office, the alleged wrongdoing took place in 2010, during Bachvarova-Piralkova's tenure as Chair of the Board (2008-2011) at the Agricultural Academy, an agency that disburses public funds for research related to agriculture, livestock breeding, and the food industry.

Estimated damages to the Agricultural Academy are worth approximately BGN 1.326 M (around EUR 0.68 M) and were caused by leasing land for joint production and research activity to a company named as Litex Commerce AD, the prosecuting authority says. No joint activity whatsoever was carried out.

Litex Commerce is a company that was set up by controversial businessman Grisha Ganchev and deals with diverse activities such as car manufacturing, sure trade, construction, oil trade, energy, transport and agriculture, among others.

Bachvarova-Piralkova has called into question the timing of Tsatsarov's demand.

The BSP press office quotes her as asking why her successors did not terminate the transaction if it was somewhat flawed.

She adds that the issue has been "investigated several times since 2011" at a time she was not an MP and did not enjoy any immunity.  

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Tags: Svetlana Bachvarova-Piralkova, agriculture academy, Sotir Tsatsarov, Chief Prosecutor's Office, Litex Commerce, Grisha Ganchev


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