US Government Sanctions Three Bulgarians, Including Controversial Businessmen Delyan Peevski, Vassil Bojkov

US Government Sanctions Three Bulgarians, Including Controversial Businessmen Delyan Peevski, Vassil Bojkov

Washington, D.C., June 2 (BTA) - The US Department of State
(DOS) and the US Department of the Treasury (USDT) said here on
Wednesday that they are sanctioning a total of six Bulgarians,
including controversial businessmen Delyan Peevski and Vassil
Bojkov, over their involvement in significant corruption.

The DOS announced the public designation of Peevski, as well as
of former Deputy Economy Minister Alexander Manolev, former
State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad (SABA) Director Petar
Haralampiev, former SABA Chief Secretary Krasimir Tomov, and
Ilko Zhelyazkov, an official in the National Bureau for Control
on Special Intelligence-Gathering Devices and former Deputy
Chief of the Bulgarian State Agency for Technical Operations,
because, in their official capacities, they "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 à personal benefit. In his capacity as a
member of parliament, Peevski used Zhelyazkov [. . .] 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," DOS
Spokesperson Ned Price said, quoted in a press statement.

The DOS action, taken under the Department of State, Foreign
Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, renders the
 five publicly designated persons and each of their immediate
family members ineligible for entry into the US.

"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," Price said.

In what it described as "the single largest action targeting
corruption to date," the USDT's Office of Foreign Assets Control
 (OFAC) for its part sanctioned Peevski, Zhelyazkov and
Bulgarian oligarch Vassil Bojkov, along with 64 entities owned
and controlled by Bojkov and Peevski, "for their extensive roles
 in corruption in Bulgaria". These individuals and entities were
 designated pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon
 and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability
"This designation exposes the three for abusing public
institutions for profit and cuts off these individuals' and
their companies' access to the US financial system. To further
protect the international financial system from abuse by corrupt
 actors, Treasury encourages all governments to implement
appropriate and effective anti-money laundering measures to
address corruption vulnerabilities," the USDT press release
reads. "These actions send a strong signal that the United
States stands with all Bulgarians who strive to root out

"The United States stands with all Bulgarians who strive to root
 out corruption by promoting accountability for corrupt
officials who undermine the economic functions and democratic
institutions of Bulgaria," said OFAC Director Andrea M. Gacki.

Later in the day, the Bulgarian Government Information Service
reported that caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev had talked
on the phone with US Under Secretary of State for Political
Affairs Victoria Nuland, who briefed him on the sanctions
against the Bulgarians and their 64 entities in the context of
the efforts to fight corruption in Bulgaria efficiently.


Reacting to the DOS's announcement of the sanctions against
Bulgarian public officials, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said
that rule of law is at the core of the democratic process in
each state committed by the rule of law. "In our relations with
our partners and allies, we have unambiguously expressed our
belief that the fight against corruption in all of its forms
shall be our unconditional principled and practical priority,"
the Ministry stated.

"In their capacity as strategic partners, Bulgaria and the US
maintain a sustainable and effective strategic dialogue. Based
on its structure, content and scope, cooperation between the two
 countries covers a number of issues on the national, regional
and global agenda. In this sense and based on the established
throughout the years traditions of interaction, we are confident
 that Sofia and Washington remain ready for dialogue on all
matters of shared interest," the Ministry said.

Approached for comment by BTA's correspondent in Brrusels,
European Commission Spokesperson Christian Wigan said: "We will
not comment on internal political developments. More generally,
we follow closely all developments in Bulgaria, also in the
context of the Annual Rule of Law Report." MY, LG

Source: Washington, DC