Bulgarian PM Borisov Again Faces Money Laundering Allegations
February 25, 2020
Anti-corruption prosecutors in the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia are investigating a money laundering case with possible links to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Business News Europe reported on February 23, citing a newspaper in Barcelona.
Borisov denies owning property in Spain.
According to a front-page article first published by El Periodico on February 21, police are investigating the origin of 5 million euros that former Bulgarian model Borislava Yovcheva, her father, and two companies received from people living outside of Spain since 2013.
The article cited police records it purportedly has seen alleging that the money of suspicious origin "might be related to undeclared funds of high-ranking officials in the Bulgarian government".
Catalan police on February 21 confirmed to RFE/RL that they are conducting an investigation but declined to give details, including whether the Bulgarian prime minister's name was implicated.
"We don't provide information on pending investigations," the press service of the Catalan police said.
In 2015, a leaked conversation between two judges and an unknown third individual included the allegation that Borisov had bought property worth 1.5 million euros for a girlfriend in Barcelona.
Bulgarian investigative news outlet Bivol.bg several years ago published a report saying that Borisov had bought Yovcheva a villa in Spain, allegations that he has repeatedly denied.
Speaking to journalists on February 21 at the European Council in Brussels, Borisov denied having ever bought property in Spain.
"I'll say it for the hundredth time – I don't have a house there, I don't have any property there; the last time I was in Barcelona I was there as a mayor of Sofia 15 years ago," he said.
Borisov then hinted that Russia was behind the recent allegations and accused Bulgarian President Rumen Radev of possibly being involved in smearing him.
"Let them do their investigation but I'm pretty sure this all comes from the East and I'll bet a few [Russian] rubles on that," he told broadcaster Dnevnik.
Borisov then promised to make an official statement once the Spanish investigation is completed or closed.
This is the third time Borisov is prime minister and he has faced accusations at home of not doing enough to eradicate corruption in one of the European Union's poorest countries.
He has replaced nine ministers so far amid various scandals involving graft.
His two previous stints as prime ministers ended with resignations.
With reporting by BNE-Intellinews, Balkan Insight, A Coruna, El Periodico, and Dnevnik
Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/bulgarian-pm- borisov-again-faces-money-laundering -allegations/30452538.html
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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