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Deputy Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev: Six officials of Agriculture State Fund detained for 24 hours

Deputy Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev: Six officials of Agriculture State Fund detained for 24 hours

16 July 2019 | 15:08 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Six officials of the Agriculture State Fund have been detained for up to 24 hours, Deputy Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev said at a press briefing about the investigation of Agriculture State Fund (ASF), Focus News Agency reported.
"The Special Prosecutor’s Office is supervising an operation at the Agriculture State Fund as part of the pre-trial proceedings against the group led by Minyu Staykov. In the course of these proceedings, charges have been brought against eight persons," said Geshev. The group leader, Minyu Staykov, has been in custody since last September. The groupe is accused of misappropriation of EU funds, they received BGN 8 million and attempted to receive another 5 million, with authorised limits under two programmes at about BGN 5 million, the prosecutor said. "In order for this to happen, [Minyu Staykov] was assisted by ASF officials, who failed to perform their duties,” Geshev said, adding that there is evidence of official misconduct. "As a result of this analysis, the [law enforcement officers] are searching home addresses and offices of six SFA officials, including the deputy executive director, directors of directorates and others", Geshev added. He further said that these six persons were detained for 24 hours and within that period the investigators of the Special Prosecutor’s Office and the supervising prosecutors will decide how many of them will be charged and what their measures will be.
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Special Prosecutor's Office investigating Agriculture State Fund over case of misuse of EU funds against Minyu Staykov

Special Prosecutor's Office investigating Agriculture State Fund over case of misuse of EU funds against Minyu Staykov

16 July 2019 | 09:23 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Special Prosecutor's Office is investigating the Agriculture State Fund over the case of misuse of EU funds against Minyu Staykov, the Appellate Prosecutor's Office said in a press release. The Special Prosecutor's Office, together with the Directorate-General for Combating Organised Crime and with the assistance of the anti-corruption commission, is conducting an investigation into the Agriculture State Fund related to the pre-trial proceedings against Minyu Staykov. Law enforcement officers are searching offices and home addresses of the fund officials. They are sezineg documents related to the implementation of the Rural Development Programme and the National Programme for Support of Viticulture and the Wine Sector.
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Parliament relieves Rumen Porodzanov of his post and elects Desislava Taneva as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

Parliament relieves Rumen Porodzanov of his post and elects Desislava Taneva as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

15 May 2019 | 10:14 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Parliament has acceppted with 121 votes in favour and 5 against the resignation of Minister Rumen Porodzanov as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and elected Desislava Taneva in his place, a GERB MP and chair of the parliamentary agricultural committee, Focus News Agency reports. Rumen Porodzanov handed in his resignation yesterday amid an ongoing investigation into misuse of European funds by the Agriculture State Fund in the period when the institution was headed by him. Motivating his decision Porodzanov said he would not want the attacks on him to affect the government. Yesterday, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov nominated Desislava Taneva as Porodzanov’s successor. She was minister of agriculture and food from 7 November 2014 to 27 January 2017 in the second Borissov cabinet.
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Bulgarian agriculture minister resigns

Bulgarian agriculture minister resigns

14 May 2019 | 09:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porodzanov has handed in his resignation, the government press office said. As reasons motivating his decision Minister Porodzanov points out he would not want the attack on him to affect the work of the government. His resignation was accepted by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.
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Prosecutor's Office: The inspections of guest houses also includes the work of authorities on EU funded programmes

Prosecutor's Office: The inspections of guest houses also includes the work of authorities on EU funded programmes

3 May 2019 | 13:09 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The current inspections of guest houses also includes the work of authorities on programmes funded by the European Union, said the Prosecutor's Office.
On 23 April 2019, Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov ordered the National Police General Directorate with the Ministry of the Interior to inspect all projects under Measure 311 Diversification into Non-agricultural Activities under the Rural Development Programme 2007 - 2013, financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, with the scope of construction/modernisation of tourist sites – accommodation facilities (guest houses). All projects that received funding for the purchase of transport vehicles for non-agricultural activities directly related to the activity of the beneficiaries will also be checked.
The inspections are within the powers of the Prosecutor’s Office and are carried out by the Ministry of the Interior, they are not done jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, or with the Agriculture State Fund. The subject of the inspections also includes the work of these government bodies on the programmes funded by the European Union, the prosecution said.
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Minister Rumen Porodzanov: By the end of last year, financial corrections had been imposed on 62 guest houses, full recovery of EU funds requested from 32

Minister Rumen Porodzanov: By the end of last year, financial corrections had been imposed on 62 guest houses, full recovery of EU funds requested from 32

2 May 2019 | 14:46 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. By the end of last year financial corrections had been imposed on 62 guest houses, full recovery of EU funds had been requested from 32 after inspections under Rural Development OP, said Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forests Rumen Porodzanov in an interview with Focus Radio.
In his words, 746 contracts for guest houses under this programme were signed and paid. Initially, the number of projects was over 1,000, but more than 300 were not approved or the amounts were not paid, Minister Porodzanov explained, further saying that the tourism element was laid down in the Rural Development Programme approved in 2008 by the EC and the two regulations under Measures 311 and 312 clearly state in what areas such guest houses can or cannot be built. The applications were in accordance with the rules set out in these regulations, the minister said. There were two calls for applications – the first one was in the beginning of 2009, and the second one in 2013. The total amount of the contracted subsidy was BGN 200 million, or BGN 265 thousand on average for a guest house with a ceiling of BGN 398 thousand, said Minister Porodzanov. The main violations involved using the houses not for their intended purpose, he said, adding that it will become clear after the inspections whether there are any other violations.
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Minister Rumen Porodzanov: 110 guest houses inspected, over BGN 10 mln to be recovered

Minister Rumen Porodzanov: 110 guest houses inspected, over BGN 10 mln to be recovered

30 April 2019 | 12:41 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. So far, 110 guest houses have been inspected, with claims for recovery of more than BGN 10 mln made, said Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porodzanov, Focus News Agency reports.
"For the period 2007 to 2013, 746 guest houses were built under two of the measures under the Rural Development Programme. They were funded with up to EUR 200,000. According to the data we have, the average funding was about EUR 135,000," Minister Porodzanov said, adding that the main problem with the guest houses was their use for the intended purpose. "So far, the Agriculture Fund has inspected about 18% of all guest houses, more than 110 guest houses have been inspected, and some have been asked to recover over BGN 10 million. For 32 of them, it is full recovery, and for the rest - depending on the implementation of the business plan,” said the agriculture minister. He pointed out that the guest houses were built in areas defined under the Rural Development Programme, which did not include big tourist centres. A full inspection of all guest houses would be carried out regardless of whether their monitoring period had elapsed or not, the minister said, explaining that if the inspecting authorities find irregularities in the financial reports, they will make appropriate financial corrections or ask for full recovery of funds. He further said that properties will be prioritised based on risk analysis.
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Minister Rumen Porodzanov: Over 17% of EU-funded guest houses have been checked

Minister Rumen Porodzanov: Over 17% of EU-funded guest houses have been checked

22 April 2019 | 11:34 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Over 17% of all EU-funded guest houses in the country have been inspected, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porodzanov told Nova TV. Regarding the investigation into Deputy Minister Aleksandar Manolev’s house and the other nearly 700 houses under the programme, Porodzanov said that in 2016 a list of all guest houses was published on the State Fund Agriculture’s website to receive reports from Bulgarian citizens about any irregularities. Since then, the state fund has carried out over 110 inspections and has made 63 financial corrections, including 32 for the recovery of funds. The minister explained that verification is usually done based on a risk analysis, but also following citizen reports regardless of the risk analysis. He admitted that, theoretically, if there is no report, a misuse of European funds may go undetected. With regard to 580 houses that have not been reported and inspected, he said they were considered as a lower risk and would be inspected if reported by citizens. “The hypothesis of bad faith by beneficiaries who set up guest houses exists, but in this 2014-2020 programming period we have not opened such a call. Although we had a lot of interest and many prepared projects, such a call has not been in preparation,” he said.
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Prosecutor Rumyana Arnaudova on alleged abuse of State Fund Agriculture: Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office took notice, we initiated a probe

Prosecutor Rumyana Arnaudova on alleged abuse of State Fund Agriculture: Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office took notice, we initiated a probe

19 April 2019 | 14:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Burgas. The Prosecutor’s Office will press charges against everyone guilty of abuse of EU funds only when the evidence is gathered, Prosecutor General’s Spokesperson Rumyana Arnaudova said at a briefing in connection with allegations of abuse of the State Fund Agriculture, Focus Radio has reported. She said that in the meantime the names of those under investigation should not be disclosed. “At the beginning of this week the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office took notice – we initiated a probe. Documents were seized from the State Fund Agriculture in connection with the project in the reports, mainly in the media. Yesterday the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Blagoevgrad opened pre-trial proceedings over a committed crime,” Arnaudova said. “Until the moment we press a charge, we will not tell and it is not right to tell who is prosecuted. We are collecting evidence of the crime committed for misappropriation of EU funds, and the second line of investigation is a tax crime,” prosecutor Arnaudova added.
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Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office orders anti-corruption commission to investigate former deputy minister of economy Aleksandar Manolev over conflict of interests

Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office orders anti-corruption commission to investigate former deputy minister of economy Aleksandar Manolev over conflict of interests

18 April 2019 | 15:04 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office is conducting an investigation into alleged misappropriation of EU funds by now former deputy minister of economy Alexander Manolev following media reports. The Agriculture State Fund has provided a copy of the project cited in the publications for the construction of a guest house near the town of Sandanski funded under the Rural Development Programme, as requested by the prosecutors, said the Prosecutor’s Office.
So far the investigation has established the following:
The grant agreement for the project amounting to BGN 391,160 was signed on 06.10.2014. with Agrotreyd - Ana Dimitrova ET; Aleksandar Manolev was not a beneficiary; Aleksandar Manolev gave Agrotreyd - Ana Dimitrova ET the right to build a guest house with a pool and fence in his own land; as managing director and representative of SDS Pro EOOD, Manolev loaned the amount of BGN 700,000 to Agrotreyd-Ana Dimitrova. For the period 19.07.2017 - 18.04.2019, Aleksandar Manolev was a member of the Management Board of the Agriculture State Fund.
The investigation will now establish whether the beneficiary has fulfilled their obligation to use the acquired assets in accordance with their intended purpose under the farm diversification grant programme.
Considering the established circumstances and in view of the powers of the Managing Board of the Agriculture State Fund to supervise the spending of the allocated funds, the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor has ordered the Commission for Counteracting Corruption and Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired Assets (KPKONPI) to conduct an investigation into a potential conflict of interests concerning Aleksandar Manolev.

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Prosecutor's Office investigates misappropriation of EU funds by Deputy Minister Alexander Manolev

Prosecutor's Office investigates misappropriation of EU funds by Deputy Minister Alexander Manolev

17 April 2019 | 12:52 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office has instituted an investigation following media reports about misappropriation of EU funds by the deputy minister of economy, said the Prosecutor's Office.
Following a publication by Mediapool website entitled: "Private villa with pool under EU project? Dep. Minister Manolev denies” and other media reports, on 15 April 2019, the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office instituted an investigation into alleged crimes committed by a senior public official – Alexander Manolev, Deputy Minister of Economy, affecting the EU’s financial interests.
The prosecutors requested from the Agriculture State Fund a copy of the project cited in the publications for the construction of a guest house near the town of Sandanski funded under the Rural Development Programme.
The investigation will question any person who has information on the case, officials who worked on the grant application and the authorisation of the payments, and will establish whether the beneficiary has fulfilled their obligation to use the acquired property in accordance with its intended purpose under the farm diversification grant programme.

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Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva testifies in Racket case. August 20, 2019
Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva testifies in Racket case. August 20, 2019

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