U.S. designates five Bulgarian officials as ‘significantly corrupt’

The United States on Wednesday designated five Bulgarian officials as significantly corrupt.

“Today, we are announcing the public designation of former Bulgarian public officials Alexander Manolev, Petar Haralampiev, Krasimir Tomov, and Delyan Slavchev Peevski, as well as current Bulgarian public official Ilko Dimitrov Zhelyazkov, due to their involvement in significant corruption,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

Price said in their official capacities as Deputy Minister of the Economy, Director of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, and Chief Secretary of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, respectively, Manolev, Haralampiev, and Tomov “were involved in corrupt acts that undermined the rule of law and the Bulgarian public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions and public processes, including by using their political influence and official power for personal benefit.”

He wrote: “In his capacity as a member of parliament, Peevski used Zhelyazkov, an official in the National Bureau for Control on Special Intelligence-Gathering Devices, as an intermediary and accomplice to peddle influence and pay bribes to protect himself from public scrutiny and to exert influence over key institutions and sectors in Bulgarian society.

“The Department of the Treasury also has designated Peevski, Zhelyazkov and Bulgarian oligarch Vassil Bojkov, along with 64 entities owned and controlled by Bojkov and Peevski, for their roles in public corruption, pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

“These designations are made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021.  In addition to Manolev, Haralampiev, Tomov, Zhelyazkov, and Peevski, we are publicly designating Manolev’s wife, Nadya Manoleva, and his children, Alexa, Joanna, and Dimitar; Haralampiev’s wife and son, Veselka Haralampieva and Pavel Haralampiev; Peevski’s minor son and daughter; and Zhelyazkov’s daughters Vania Ilkova Zhelyazkova and Roza Ilkova Zhelyazkova.  This action renders Manolev, Haralampiev, Tomov, Zhelyazkov, and Peevski, and each of their immediate families, ineligible for entry into the United States.  

“Today’s actions reaffirm our commitment to supporting rule of law and strengthening democratic institutions in Bulgaria.  The United States stands with all Bulgarians whose work drives reforms forward, and the Department will continue to use its authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors in the region and globally.”

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