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The prosecution has established dozens of violations committed by the former Mayor of Tsarevo, Petko Arnaudov, involving budget for millions, and left them without any consequence.

According to the prosecutor from the Burgas Regional Prosecutor’s Office, Angel Georgiev, who signed the decree on the termination of pre-trial proceedings 281/2010 on the docket of the prosecution in Burgas, Petko Arnaoudov repeatedly breached the law, but it was “to the purpose.”

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The case involves awarding multiple contracts without open competition, which were established in a report of the Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) for the period 2005 – 2011. Projects, such as “Bulgarian – German Vocational Training Center for Tourism” in the Black Sea town of Tsarevo, repair of sidewalks in Ahtopol, transportation of students in the municipality, were funded without adhering to procedures and with direct contracts with contractors.

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The total value of these projects exceeds 1 million levs. The judgment of the prosecution, however, is that “administrative breaches, committed by the mayor and established by the inspections, are not drastic. The decisions that were made are formally illegal, but essentially they are to the purpose, and therefore do not constitute offenses under the Penal Code.”

This ruling does not mention a word on why the prosecutor has determined that the breaches were to the purpose. However, there are arguments as to why when an official violates the law, this is not an offense.

“Given that the action under Article 282 may be made only when there is culpability – direct intent, the perpetrator shall also pursue a special purpose, which is a typical subjective perception of the offense under Article 282 paragraph 1 of the Penal Code – to cause harm to the State or the municipal entity or the office he represents or to obtain an advantage for himself or for another person. Definitely the case-law takes the view that abuse of power or rights, in the absence of evidence that the action was committed with direct intent and special purpose of obtaining advantage for himself or for another person or to cause harm, is not a crime in office. And ,as I pointed out, no indisputable evidence has been collected in the course of the investigation for any direct intent to commit an offense and for a special purpose, referred to in that normative text – to obtain advantage for himself or for another person or to cause harm,” writes the prosecutor.

Claims against Arnaudov over the construction of the museum in Tsarevo, whose Director was his wife, were rejected with similar arguments. No violations were found either in the distribution of land on the sea coast to municipal employees on grounds they were extremely poor. It emerged later that the “needy” built on the lucrative properties high-rise apartment buildings for sale and hotels.

The buildings of municipal employees with housing needs on municipal land acquired for pocket change

Overall, the judgment is a textbook example of untouchability of officials, despite major offenses and may be of use to all mayors who decide to circumvent the law in the allocation of contracts for millions.

Bulgarian Judiciary Tackles White Collar Crime with a Penal Code from 1968

According to acting prosecutors, one of the major issues faced by legislators is the Penal Code itself. Despite continuous “exercises” in this important law, all political forces in the legislature refuse to alter the part of Penal Code dealing with economic crimes. The current provisions have not been amended since 1968. These texts, written to serve the socialist State property, are completely inadequate to the current conditions. Magistrates are adamant that the outdated and ineffective provisions of the Penal Code from the era of “Developing Socialism” are being kept precisely to facilitate impunity in large-scale economic crimes after the change of the socio-political system in the country 25 years ago.

No Established Offenses for a Socialist Mayor

Tsarevo Mayor Petko Arnaoudov harbors a presumption of impunity for many years. He is an unmatched record breaker in more than 100 established, and described in detail in the audit reports of the former financial control, serious abuses of power. Arnaudov has been exonerated on all counts by the Burgas Prosecutor’s Office. Dozens of tipoffs, sent by municipal councilors in Tsarevo at the time of his term in office to this institution, also persistently remain without consequence.

The tipoffs and the journalistic investigations in political and administrative corruption, related to the “Affair Coral”, were also “covered” by the Burgas prosecutors. Investigative actions in the biggest scam in Bulgaria with waterfront public land were temporarily reopened with a special order, issued by the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassations during the term of Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev. Ultimately, the case was again assigned to the Unit for Combating Organized Crime and quite predictably was buried there at the end. The prosecution in Burgas sees compelling evidence that with his actions Arnaudov actually deprived public interest in favor of corporate and political one as “toilet paper”. The story of the police officer, who was investigating Arnaudov and, at the same time, received from him land to build a house, is emblematic. People in Burgas also tell the story with the investigator leading the mayoral scams’ case, who received an offer to become owner of a gas station near Tsarevo. The case has been assigned to another colleague after his refusal.

No Mercy over Hamburgers

While providing cover-up for the big swindlers in our poor country, the prosecution delivered a firm message that it will successfully deal with petty crime. It asked the court in Momchilgrad to issue a sentence of three months in prison for the theft of 11 hamburgers, 3 kefirs and seasonings, worth 11 levs, and the judges ruled in its favor.

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