Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Asen Vassilev made the following statement to journalists in the National Assembly: “се Finally, we are acting on the signal of Mr. Bozhkov and the report of the State Financial Inspection Agency from last summer. If you remember, PFIA found that there was damage to the budget in the amount of BGN 556 million due to the inaction of the Gambling Commission under the direct authority of Mr. Goranov. Finally, this was sent by the official cabinet of the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office and no action was taken to protect the 555 million taxpayers. Finally, we see that we have at least one small step in this direction. “
In this regard, the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office reports that the allegations in Asen Vassilev’s statement are incorrect, grossly violate the principle of separation of powers and the rule of law and constitute political interference in the activities of the judiciary.
The allegations of Mr. Asen Vassilev that the damage to the budget indicated by him was established in the summer of 2021, when the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office was notified, do not correspond to the truth. It is also not true that the prosecutor’s office has not taken any action to protect the interests of taxpayers.
In the framework of pre-trial proceedings instituted in the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office, twice – with explicit prosecutorial decrees of 06.01.2020 and 16.04.2021, the State Financial Inspection Agency was assigned to conduct financial inspections of the State Gambling Commission (currently closed). and with the successor of the National Revenue Agency) for the period from 01.01.2014 to 31.12.2019. In both decrees it is indicated to establish the legality of the revenues received from due state fees under Art. 30, para. 3 of the Gambling Act by the registered gambling operators – New Games AD (formerly New Games OOD), National Lottery AD (formerly National Lottery OOD), Eurofootball OOD and Eurobet OOD, as well as the control exercised by the State Gambling Commission.
It was on the financial inspections assigned by a prosecutor at the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office that the damage to the budget in the amount of BGN 556,872,283, approximately indicated by Minister Asen Vassilev, was established. In the course of the financial inspections, systematic violations of the control activity of the SCG were established, which are expressed in tolerance for the purpose of illegal enrichment of gambling companies managed by Vasil Bozhkov. As a result of the established facts of the pre-trial proceedings, the State Gambling Commission was closed.
The results of the two financial inspections are attached to the evidence in the pre-trial proceedings on the grounds of Art. 127 of the PPC (as written evidence). The results of the first became the basis at the end of January 2020 to bring to justice ten people, including two chairmen of the SCG, one director of a directorate and one head of department in the SCG.
In January 2020, Vasil Bozhkov, who was hiding in the UAE, was prosecuted in the same pre-trial proceedings, and some of his accusations are related to the established damage to the budget in the amount of BGN 556,872,283.
In January 2020, by decrees of a prosecutor from the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office, about 200 tax audits were assigned to accused persons and related companies. In the course of these audits, the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office has repeatedly provided the NRA’s audit bodies with access to the evidence in the case, with a view to conducting effective audit proceedings and establishing any undeclared and unpaid taxes. Most tax audits have ended with audit acts.
On 07.02.2020, at the request of a prosecutor supervising the pre-trial proceedings, the Specialized Criminal Court admitted and imposed by means of seizures and foreclosures collateral under Art. 72 of the Criminal Procedure Code regarding the entire movable and immovable property of the accused V.B. The precautionary measures taken are in force so far.
Apart from that, the supervising prosecutors have fulfilled their obligations and in due time (in February 2020) informed the KPCONPI bodies about the involvement of Vasil Bozhkov as a defendant under texts of the Penal Code, for which KPCONPI has powers and have taken precautionary measures under another law. in respect of all movable and immovable property of the accused.
Nearly a year and a half later – on June 2, 2021, the accused Vasil Bozhkov was sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Ministry of Finance of the United States of America under the so-called global law “Magnetic”.
Under the direction and supervision of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office, 4 pre-trial proceedings are being conducted against Vasil Bozhkov. Numerous charges have been brought against him, for which the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office informed the Bulgarian public in a timely manner.
The first pre-trial proceedings were instituted on December 20, 2019 – for extortion through threats to life and physical violence.
On January 29, 2020, after specifying the indictment in the pre-trial proceedings, Vasil Bozhkov was charged with leading an organized criminal group set up to commit various criminal acts for selfish purposes – a crime under Art. 321, para 3, item 1, supra para 1 of the Penal Code. Four more people are accused of participating in the group, including two chairmen of the State Gambling Commission (current and previous).
In the same pre-trial proceedings, someone was charged with two extortions with threats for the purpose of gratuitous acquisition of shares in gambling companies – crimes under Art. 213a, para. 2, item 1 and item 5 of the Penal Code and Art. 214, para 2, item 1, supra art. 213a, para. 2, item 5 of the Penal Code. He was also involved in two other crimes – incitement to commit official crimes by the chairman of the State Gambling Commission (under Art. 282, para. 2, supra para. 1, supra Art. 20, para. 3, supra para. 1 of the Penal Code), as well as for the fact that he offered a bribe in the amount of BGN 10,000 per day to the chairman of the SCG in order to perform actions in office – revocation of issued licenses for gambling activities (a crime under Article 304 of NK).
According to separate materials from the cited pre-trial proceedings, a new case was instituted, in which Bozhkov was charged with leading an organized criminal group for holding and selling archeological sites that were not identified and registered in the prescribed manner and for money laundering – a crime under Art. 321, para 3, item 1, supra para 1 of the Penal Code. He was charged with possession of 6869 archeological sites (crime under Article 278, paragraph 6 of the Penal Code), sale of over 1000 such sites on the territory of Bulgaria, the Swiss Confederation and the Federal Republic of Germany (crime under Article 278a, paragraph 6 of the Penal Code). 3, supra para 1 of the Penal Code), as well as for laundering of BGN 559,739 164.70, acquired through criminal activity (crime under Art. 253, para 5, supra para 3, item 1, supra para. paragraph 2 of the Penal Code).
In the pre-trial proceedings with the accused Vasil Bozhkov, a huge number of actions were carried out in the investigation – all possible in the absence of the accused. According to the latest data, he is still in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
So far, the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office has sent through the Ministry of Justice to the competent authorities in the UAE two requests for his extradition to the Republic of Bulgaria and numerous summonses for his voluntary appearance before the investigating authorities in the Republic of Bulgaria. To this day, they all remain unanswered. The pre-trial proceedings against him specialized by the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office have not ended, as he is hiding in the UAE and does not appear before the investigating authorities. This is a significant obstacle in the sense of the Bulgarian PPC for the completion of ongoing proceedings. Bozhkov did not in any way contribute to establishing the objective truth.
Bulgarian society was informed about all this in a timely manner.
We enclose copies of the prosecutor’s decrees for assignment of financial inspections, letters of PFIA and part of the request of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office (in volume of over 1000 pages) for imposition of precautionary measures under Art. 72 of the PPC.