The Bulgarian prosecutor’s office brought to court the first lawsuit for abuse of funds for the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU, to the amount of nearly €4 million. Charges are brought against the former CEO of the National Palace of Culture (NDK) Miroslav Borshosh. Krassen Nikolov has the story.
Krassen Nikolov is a journalist specialised in judiciary affairs. He works for Mediapool and will be a regular contributor for BulgarianPresidency.eu for the six months of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The main venue of the Presidency was completely rehabilitated and modernised from inside to the cost of €23 million. This is where the Western Balkans summit was held in May. Separately, Bulgaria spent another €8 million on the park’s renovation and outside the building, the sloppy works having already caused public outrage. Part of the new pavement broke to pieces only six months after the completion of the works.
Miroslav Borshosh will be held responsible in court for a total of four crimes to the amount of around €4 million.
The first and heaviest charge is that he has allegedly stolen €2 million from the budget for the renovation of the building. The second charge is that he has allegedly spent another €1.75 million of the budget for the renovation of the National Palace of Culture for activities unrelated to the repair.
He is also charged with a number of other misappropriations to the amount of €200,000. Borshosh has hired two external law firms, although he had two in-house lawyers at his disposal, who could do the same job at no cost, prosecutors say. Part of the money was allegedly used to create a website of the National Palace of Culture, although such website already existed.
Borshosh has used Presidency money to lease a luxury limousine, although he had company cars available, and the Council of Ministers had provided him with a car for representative needs at no cost. €15,000 have been spent on paying the car’s lease before the contract was terminated.
In addition, the former Chairman of the NDK’s Board of Directors Valentin Krastev is accused of putting pressure on three of his subordinates to manipulate the results of a public procurement contract for the renovation of the building. They have been pressed to lower the score of one bidder for the repairs and to boost the ranking of another.
The Palace of Culture was built in 1981 on the initiative of Lyudmila Zhivkova, the daughter of the communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. The building was erected to mark the 1300th anniversary of the founding of the Bulgarian state, in 681 a.d.