Bulgaria’s former prime minister, Boyko Borisov, was detained late last night, on March the 17th. This was conducted as part of a police operation linked to probes by the EU prosecutor’s office.
Former Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, former head of the parliamentary budgetary committee Menda Stoyanova, and Borisov’s media aide Sevdalina Arnaudova have also been arrested.
“In conjunction with 120 cases from the European Prosecutor’s Office in Bulgaria, a large-scale operation is underway. Many addresses are subjected to searches and seizures. Boyko Borisov, Vladislav Goranov, Menda Stoyanova, and Sevdalina Arnaudova are now being held in detention”, the Interior Ministry said.
Borisov, 62, is the current chairman of the center-right GERB party, which now serves as opposition to the ruling coalition.
The Interior Ministry has not disclosed details, but the public BNT television has reported that the cases concerned “misuse of EU funds”.
Searches and seizures proceeded at a number of locations around the country.
“Nobody is above the law!” posted Kiril Petkov, Bulgaria’s new Prime Minister, on his official Facebook page right after Borisov was arrested.
Petkov’s newly founded anti-corruption coalition won the Bulgarian general election last year on a platform of “zero tolerance for corruption”.
The operation comes right after European Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruța Kövesi’s visit to Sofia on March 16-17. Petkov’s “determination, leadership and compelling vision on the war against corruption” was lauded by them.
“Now is the time for the relevant Bulgarian authorities to team up with us, including on particularly sensitive cases,” Kövesi said.
“This is why we exist. This is why we are here,”, Kövesi stated, adding that European prosecutors have initiated 120 investigations into fraud involving EU funds related to agricultural subsidies, public tenders, construction, and COVID-19 recovery funds.
Borisov has been repeatedly accused of corruption over the years, but he has always denied any wrongdoing.