Conservative populist Boyko Borisov, Bulgaria’s prime minister for much of the period between 2009 and 2021, was arrested Thursday during a Bulgarian police operation for alleged corruption offences, the Interior Ministry in Sofia reported.
Along with Borisov, several former high-ranking officials of their governments were also arrested, including the former Finance Minister, Vladislav Goranov.
The arrests were carried out after a visit this Wednesday and Thursday by the European Attorney General, Laura Kövesi, who is studying some 120 complaints she has received from the Balkan country for alleged acts of corruption, several local stations reported.
The new Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Kiril Petkov, who won the elections last year with a pro-European, reformist and anti-corruption platform, wrote on his Facebook account that “no one is above the law”.
In addition to Borisov and Goranov, the well-known former deputy and chairperson of the finance committee in various parliaments since 2009, Menda Stoyanova, and the former president’s personal spokeswoman, Sevdalina Arnaudova, were arrested.
Borisov, who was arrested at his residence in the Bulgarian capital, is the leader of the Bulgarian Citizens for European Development (GERB) party, winner of all elections since 2009. The former prime minister was transferred to the general directorate of the Bulgarian National Police, explained his lawyer.
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According to Kövesi, part of the complaints received deal with abuses and fraud with European funds, agricultural subsidies, European recovery funds after the coronavirus pandemic and the manipulation of public tenders.
Borisov’s party, which is part of the European People’s Party (EPP), was already the target of large protests in the summer of 2020. Tens of thousands of citizens then demanded the resignation of the then prime minister, due to his closeness to alleged local gangsters and for favoring the economic oligarchy of the Balkan country, the poorest and considered the most corrupt in the EU.
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