Closer to EU: Bulgarian Officials Allegedly Sold Citizenship for Bitcoins
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Nov. 2, 2018

The chairman of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad (SABA) Petar Haralampiev, the Secretary-General Krassimir Tomov along with other 20 people involved were arrested. The investigation opened by the Anti-Corruption Commission of the country went on for the last 4 month. The arrested officials are allegedly involved in an organized crime group for official and documentary crimes along with corruption, various local media report.

Bulgaria is currently on its way to fully integrate into the Schengen Zone. Since 2007, the citizens of this country are able to move within the European Union without visas. This makes Bulgarian passport a tasty morsel for the ones who are still looking into this opportunity.

During the investigation, it became known that Ukrainian, Moldovan, and Macedonian citizens without the ethnic Bulgarian roots were paying governmental bodies that provide the documents necessary for obtaining the citizenship. The cost of the bribe is said to be 5,000 EUR for the necessary document to ‘appear’.

The defendant side is applying to the fact that no evidence of a crime exists. However, the prosecution has its concerns on this matter.

“Bribery was in cryptocurrency, and we have the proof”, said the chief Prosecutor of Bulgaria Ivan Geshev.

Haralampiev is in the scandal epicenter not for the first time, as such November last year, the politician who is known to be a member of United Patriots coalition (the party has nominated Haralampiev to the current position) has appeared in the t-shirt with the lettering “Wehrmacht” on it. The photo was taken during his pilgrimage to the grave of Todor Aleksandrov, one of the leaders of Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) who in 1923 assassinated Bulgaria’s prime minister, Aleksandŭr Stamboliyski. Back then, Petar Haralampiev said that the image and the lettering on his outfit has nothing to do with the Nazi army and what is written on his T-shirt is referred to a heavy metal band.

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