Pavel Marinov and Plamen Oresharski
The Commission on Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest (KPUKI), which became notorious for the „notebook“ of its former chief Filip Zlatanov, continues to interpret the law in the most cynical way in order to „strike“ or clear the right person.
(In mid-2013, Bulgarian prosecutors pressed charges against Zlatanov of breach of duties, delaying cases and failing to notify the prosecution about them, after seizing “an intriguing notebook” from his desk, filled with instructions for a number of cases such as: to strike, to defer, to delay, and to fix – editor’s note)
That the Commission continues to act in the same manner is proven in writing in its decision on the case of offshore companies of Burgas Regional Governor Pavel Marinov. The Commission was approached by Bivol after revelations of two offshore companies which Marinov still manages without having declared this activity.
KPUKI has decided to end proceedings due to lack of evidence of breaches of the provisions of the Law on Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest. However, several violations are found in the decision itself.
„Indeed, in those declarations P. M. has not specified his connections with **** and ****,“ reads the Commission’s conclusion.
At least three things should happen as a follow-up of this statement: KPUKI must fine Marinov for submitting a false declaration; the Council of Ministers should immediately remove him from office and the prosecution must charge him with submitting a document with false content. That is the law, but not when it is interpreted „with a notepad in hand.“
First, there is no sanction whatsoever for the incorrect data. Even Sergei Stanishev (leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and former Prime Minister – editor’s note) was imposed a fine by the Commission and it was only for a delayed declaration of conflict of interest, not for a false statement. For Marinov, however, there are no consequences.
In order to not „strike“ Marinov, members of the Commission, Katya Staneva Nikolay Nicolo and Pascal Boyadzhiyski, who have signed the decision, made a very cynical interpretation of the Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest Act. Despite the established breaches, the Commission deliberated that there was no evidence that Marinov’s private interest had influenced the impartial and objective exercise of the powers or duties of his office because the tipoff had not included assertions that he had profited from offshore companies.
It is clear from what KPUKI has written that it never bothered to check Marinov’s income to determine whether he earned profits from the offshore companies.
Profit or not, Article 19a Paragraph 3 of the State Administration Act is straightforward: there is an incompatibility of offshore “businessman” Marinov with the public office he is holding. The Commission cannot overlook this standard, but it twisted it so as to wash its hands:
„Violation of the prohibition of incompatibility, laid down in Article 5 of the Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest Act in conjunction with Article19, paragraph 3 of the State Administration Act, does not automatically lead to a conflict of interests under Article 2 of the Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest Act,” concludes the Commission.
In fact, KPUKI recognized an offense under the State Administration Act. Marinov, who is both in the management of offshore companies and is Regional Governor, should be immediately removed from office by the prime minister who appointed him. Moreover, after the declaration of Prime Minister Oresharski that he is the one responsible for appointments of regional governors (“Panorama” political talk show of the public television, BNT).
The Commission’s members have also tried to wash their hands regarding the third point – Marinov’s false declaration. Influential politician Hristo Bisserov was charged by the prosecution precisely for such false declaration.
The decision states that „submitting a false declaration is a criminal offense under the Penal Code.“ Immediately, however, KPUKI insures itself with the wording „a check of the veracity of the declared circumstances is outside the scope of authority of the Commission on Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest.”
There is no word about referring the case to the Prosecutor’s Office as is the obligation of any public institution when it has established a breach of the law.
Bivol’s investigation in the case of Marinov’s offshore companies established other scandalous evidence of document crimes. As representative of the offshore company „Interlog-UK“, in 2013, Marinov has signed documents to be presented before Bulgarian authorities without declaring that the company has been removed from the registries in 2010.
In addition, Marinov emerged as a partner of Sergei Boev, Chief Executive of the military “Space Wars” project of the Russian Federation, with whom they manage a plant owned by a company of the Russian military-industrial complex. This fact should be interesting not only for the State Agency for National Security (DANS), but also for our NATO partners. Moreover, as a representative of the State, Marinov is involved in crisis and emergencies management and must have access to evacuation and war-time plans, which constitute classified information.