U.S. Blacklists Corruption of 3 Bulgarian, 64 Enterprises

[Washington / Sophia]The United States imposed sanctions on 64 companies and three Bulgarian people over corruption on Wednesday, including Russian political leaders creating a pipe to influence the Bulgarian government. Includes Oligalhi, who was accused of planning.

The move was the biggest graft-targeted action to date, according to a Treasury statement.

According to Transparency International, Bulgaria is ranked as the most corrupt member state of the European Union. The Balkans have been repeatedly criticized by the European Commission for failing to eradicate corruption and imprisoning a senior government official for bribery.

Bulgarian businessman Vasil Bozikov
Bulgarian businessman Vasil Bozikov attends a press conference in Sofia, Bulgaria on January 22, 2020. (Desislava Komarova / Reuters)

Bulgarian interim Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said the move was informed by telephone from the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland as part of an effort to effectively combat Bulgarian corruption.

The U.S. Treasury has said it has imposed sanctions on oligarch Vasil Kromov Bozikov, 64, a businessman, and plans to create a path for Russian leaders to influence the Bulgarian government. Blame.

Bozhkov, one of Bulgarian’s wealthiest gambling tycoons, fled the country in 2020, fleeing criminal charges such as extortion, tax evasion and marketing of influence. He denied cheating and is now based in Dubai.

The Treasury has also imposed sanctions on former parliamentarian Delyan Peevski, senior government official Ilko Dimitrov Zhelyazkov, and 64 companies owned or controlled by the three.

Sanctions block blacklisted people and businesses from accessing the US financial system, freeze US assets, and ban Americans from dealing with them.

Delyan Peevski (R), Bulgarian businessman
Bulgarian businessman and former MP Delyan Peevski (R) will attend a birthday party in Sofia, Bulgaria on December 7, 2010. (Petko Nalbantov / BULGARIA OUT / Reuters)

The U.S. Department of State has individually designated former Bulgarian officials Alexander Manolev, Petal Haralampiev, Krasimir Tomov, and Pievsky and Zelyazkov on suspicion of being involved in corruption, and that they and their families will enter the United States. Forbidden.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, “The United States supports all Bulgarians working to drive reform, and the ministry continues to use authorities to pervert local and global corrupters. Promote accountability for the United States. “

Peevski, 40, is a Bulgarian businessman, former media mogul and former member of parliament. Domestic critics see him as a behind-the-scenes and powerful mediator of power with a strong influence on the Bulgarian judicial and political elite.

Last summer, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov dismissed three ministers to curb large-scale anti-government protests over corruption, ending allegations that they were working with Peevsky.

The Treasury accused him of “using influential peddler and bribes to protect himself from public surveillance and control major institutions and sectors of Bulgarian society.”