EU Prosecutor's Office is conducting Searches in Sofia as part of an Investigation into Corruption and Misuse of FundsEU | March 31, 2023, Friday // 17:39| views
@European Prosecutor's Office
The European Prosecutor's Office is conducting searches in Sofia, Bulgaria as part of an investigation into corruption and abuse of European funds for the restoration of the historic center of the city, including the famous yellow paving stones, the prosecutor's office reports. The damage amounts to at least 3 million euros.
According to the allegations in the investigation, codenamed "Yellow Brick Road", the investigation is about the misuse of funds allocated to the Sofia Municipality for the renovation of the old city under the European Regional Development Fund, as well as possible corruption.
The European Public Prosecutor's Office started the investigation in autumn 2022 based on media reports. Within its scope are the contracts signed between the Sofia Municipality and two commercial companies after the public procurement procedures.
The investigation shows that the first contract was signed in 2018 for the restoration of the central part of Sofia, including on "Tsar Osvoboditel" blvd. and "Narodno sabnonie" square. However, two years later, when several payments had already been made, the contract was terminated by mutual consent. The reason given is the lack of conformity between the terms of the contract and the investment project.
It was also noted that construction work could damage the 1907-built Military Club, which has historic value. However, around 3 million euros was paid to the contractor without any penalties being withheld.
After the contract expires, the municipality signs a new agreement with a new contractor under the same conditions. The latter has requested to be paid in advance about 750 thousand euros for the restoration of the yellow paving stones. However, the amount has not been paid until now because of the checks.
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