14 April 2021

Under the supervision of Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, an investigation is being conducted against a criminal group for the crime of vote buying with the participation of a MP candidate

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The Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Bulgaria, jointly with the bodies of the Ministry of Interior and the State Agency for National Security, took a number of actions to prevent crimes against the political rights of citizens in connection with the parliamentary elections scheduled and held on April 4, 2021.

For the time being, pre-trial proceedings have been instituted against criminal groups established in order to buy votes, which are at different stages of investigation.

Under the investigation, led by the Sofia City Prosecutor`s Office, significant amount of evidence has been gathered. It was found that the group has used a full range of electoral trading schemes.

Initially, the investigation under the pre-trial proceedings was initiated by Plovdiv Regional Prosecutor`s Office. Under this investigation three persons have been brought to justice. Evidence has been gathered of a person enjoying immunity in his capacity of MP candidate.

According to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, the case was submitted to the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office as the only one competent to investigate acts committed by persons enjoying immunity.

From all the evidence collected so far, it was found out that the criminal group was established and operated in the period from February 06, 20021 to the date of the elections for the 45th National Assembly.

The group developed its activity on the territory of the whole country. The group had a pyramidal structure. Its funding was provided by a person residing in a non-EU country.

The organizer and leader of the group is owner and manager of several companies, who maintained direct telephone connection with a leader of a political party.

The instructions and information received were passed on by him to other participants.

In order to coordinate the actions, numerous conspiracy meetings were organized in Sofia, Plovdiv, Petrich, Karlovo and other settlements.

Among the members of the criminal group is an MP-candidate, municipal advisor and a person with a strong influence in neighborhoods with a predominant minority population. Their activity was organized according to several schemes: identification of persons at the local level, providing voters against payment; offering property benefits to owners of commercial companies, in order for their employees to vote for a certain party; providing persons engaged against payment by taking voters to the ballot box. 

During the searches and seizures in the homes inhabited by the members of the group, as well as in the cars used by them, numerous lists of personal data of potential voters, mobile phones and laptops were found and seized.

The participants in the revealed criminal group have been brought to justice and have been imposed detention measure at two court instances. Remand measure “subscription” is applied to one of them by the court, which will be challenged by the Prosecutor`s Office.

Today, April 14, 2021, a briefing on the case was given by the spokesperson of the Prosecutor General Siyka Mileva, by the Administrative Head of the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office Iliana Kirilova and Antoaneta Pancheva spokesperson of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office.