Panama Papers: Bulgarian Politicians' Names to Be Unveiled - Ex-FinMin

Domestic | April 18, 2016, Monday // 07:46|  views

Former Bulgarian Finance Minister (2009-2013) Simeon Djankov. File photo, BGNES

Former Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has predicted names of Bulgarian politicians will appear in the Panama Papers.

He has told private bTV's Sunday afternoon talkshow that the information will be disclosed either by "the Bulgarian media outlet" or other sources, considering that "the entire information is already present in Germany and the UK".

Djankov was referring to daily 24 Chasa, the Bulgarian partner to the International Consortium of Investigated Journalists (ICIJ) which unveiled the results of their work on 11.5 million documents leaked out of law firm Mossack Fonseca and showing offshore dealings of politicians, entrepreneurs, and celebrities.

At least 50 companies, 16 company owners and 78 shareholders from across Bulgaria have been linked to registrations in offshore jurisdictions around the world. Another 100 people were directors, agents, lawyers or liquidators; some of them were foreign nationals residing in Bulgaria or having Bulgarian passports.

The former Finance Minister, who served between 2009 and 2013 under PM Boyko Borisov's previous administration, has also warned the delay in communicating the names of Bulgarian politicians linked to offshore jurisdictions could be a sign of "lack of media freedom", given the slow pace of uncovering names of Bulgarians - one every several days.

"Even if names are hidden in Bulgaria, they will emerge in foreign media, as the entire information is present in other countries."

"I am convinced there are many" connections between politicians and businesses in Bulgaria, Djankov has argued.

He has also recalled Borisov's moves earlier this year to halt a number of public tenders awarded to dubious companies, suggesting part of them might be linked to the British Virgin Islands, but "we have doubts as to who is carrying them out."

In his words, the Panama Papers will show some key privatization and public procurement deals that have been detrimental to the state in the past years are linked to offshoring.

Bulgarian authorities say they have demanded information of Bulgarian names in the documents directly from ICIJ, after previously having done that with a request to 24 Chasa.

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Tags: Mossack Fonseca, Boyko Borisov, offshore, 24 chasa, ICIJ, Panama Papers, Simeon Djankov, public tenders


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