site.btaUPDATED Ad Hoc Committee Hears Justice Ministry Officials on Gleb Myshin Bulgarian Citizenship Fixing Scam

Ad Hoc Committee Hears Justice Ministry Officials on Gleb Myshin Bulgarian Citizenship Fixing Scam
Ad Hoc Committee Hears Justice Ministry Officials on Gleb Myshin Bulgarian Citizenship Fixing Scam
Deputy Justice Minister Georgi Nikolov at a hearing of the Ad Hoc Committee of Inquiry into the Myshin Citizenship Scam, Sofia, February 28, 2024 (BTA Photo)

The parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee of Inquiry into the Activities of Gleb Myshin gave Deputy Justice Minister Georgi Nikolov a hearing on Wednesday.

Myshin, who is presumably a Ukrainian-born Russian, reportedly arranged for Russians to obtain Bulgarian citizenship through a suspected document fraud.

Nikolov told the Committee that Myshin himself applied for Bulgarian citizenship producing forged documents. The State Agency for National Security (SANS) issued a negative opinion on the application after the file was sent to the Agency for a check. 

The Deputy Minister also pointed out that he was informed several months ago that Myshin was a go-between and almost daily "led certain groups of people."

Many of the documents presented by his "clients" subsequently turned out to be forged in the part concerning the descent of the citizenship applicants, Nikolov said. He admitted that there might be people who have acquired Bulgarian citizenship through forged documents, but specified that there is a procedure for cancelling naturalization and checks are being conducted.

During the hearing, Petar Petrov MP of Vazrazhdane said that, according to a reference provided to the lawmakers by the Deputy Minister, about 3,330 files had been pulled for further checks because of suspicions of a possible use of non-authentic documents. Nikolov admitted that this number could increase, as there were backlogged files that have yet to be processed.

"Several months ago it transpired that documents were being fabricated on a massive scale and were sold online and in other locations," Katya Mateva, Director of the Justice Ministry's Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate, said at Wednesday's hearing. 

She pointed out that out of a total of 22,055 applicants for citizenship on the basis of Bulgarian descent in 2023, at least 7,000 will prove to have produced forged documents. Mateva believes that the number of people applying for citizenship will increase because of the military conflicts near Bulgaria.

The Justice Ministry official insisted that command of Bulgarian should be introduced as an eligibility requirements for applicants for citizenship on the basis of Bulgarian descent, adding that those whose documents were identified as forged as a rule do not speak Bulgarian.

On February 7, www.mediapool.bg reported that over 4,000 people from the former USSR are trying to get a Bulgarian passport through Myshin's intermediation and that the vast majority of their documents had been vetted by SANS as authentic.

Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria leader Atanas Atanasov said on National Television on January 31 that "a mythical person is arranging Bulgarian citizenship for Russians through false documents." "This is a potential channel for the infiltration into Europe of Russia's intelligence services' assets," Atanasov claimed.

Mediapool had obtained information according to which Myshin's scam went into operation in 2018, when the Bulgarian consulates in Moscow, St Petersburg, Minsk and Kyiv, among others, started to forward Bulgarian citizenship applications by thousands of citizens of Russia and former Soviet republics.

The applicants obtained a false birth certificate of a parent certifying their Bulgarian descent and used that document to support their applications.

Insiders say that the price for obtaining a Bulgarian passport by forged documents has reached EUR 20,000 over the last couple of years. Fixers charge some EUR 8,000 alone to relay the documents to the Bulgarian institutions, Mediapool reported.

/NZ/

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By 03:32 on 25.04.2024 Today`s news

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