The EU Is Seeking BGN 890 Million from BG Customs Scam, the Prosecutor's Office Does Not Care
Mr. Zdravkov, we all know very well that there is no day off for scam and swindling in BG. What is hidden in this aspect under the mantle of the Covid crisis?
I can comment on at least three cases of customs smuggling. The most striking thing is that the government has been covering up reports from OLAF and the EU on customs fraud in BG over the past five years, which have damaged the European budget by BGN 890 million and therefore the EU is moving to a specific procedure against Bulgaria.
When did these reports arrive in Bulgaria?
The last report - at the end of January this year. These are specific tariff items for imports of Chinese cargo at reduced prices - imports into Bulgaria under EU law, with customs duties coming at the expense of the union. The report says that the damages of the European Union are on average BGN 120 million per year, and Bulgaria itself loses about BGN 25 million in uncollected VAT. The letters were sent by the EU to the head of our mission there Dimitar Tsanchev, to the Minister of Finance Goranov, to one of his deputies and to the chairman of the Customs Agency. The text says that in recent years, Brussels has repeatedly warned the management of the Customs Agency that illegal activities have been committed there and that "BG Customs have put undue pressure on certain importers", which has led to this damage. This means that we are an organized group for customs duties theft, which has continued to operate after explicit warnings.
What exactly is it about?
There are certain minimum import prices in BG. An item, for example - socks, cannot be imported at a price below BGN 0.3 per piece. And that's why everyone imports socks for 30 stotinki. However, the EU does not agree, because there are all kinds of socks and their average price should be different, say – 50 stotinki. That is, we have stolen and continued to steal European tariffs. Some may find these 20 st. ridiculous, but that's two-thirds of the price of each pair of socks. There is another problem. In order to collect these missing duties, the authorities have to initiate lawsuits against the importing companies. I can bet that these claims will be rejected in court 100 percent. Thus, in addition to the differences in EU duties, the national budget will pay the costs of the cases.
Is there a way for Bulgaria not to pay these BGN 890 million to Brussels?
No way, because this is damage to the European budget.
A simple arithmetic shows that the damage to our country is over a billion and a half - to the uncollected Vasil Bozhkov's 700 million by Goranov's office we add these new 890 million, which we owe to the EU. Probably the minister has unsuspected qualities, since this does not affect his position.
Plus future litigation costs. He cannot say again that he did not know, because he appoints the head of the Customs Agency by law and all the letters have passed through the Ministry of Finance. I have sent the signal with the signatures of the EU and OLAF to the prosecutor's office, which has to fight organized crime. I was told that the signal lacked data on committed crimes and that my information was based on "unidentified documents with non-established identity." Do you know who Dr. Andreas Schwartz is? This is the former chief of staff of the current IMF President Kristalina Georgieva. He is currently Head of the Revenue and Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU,he holds the key to all types of funding in the Union and, as such, has signed all the cited reports. Dr. Schwartz's phone numbers are published on the Internet, I have attached them to the report to the prosecutor's office, which answered the signal was with an unclear identity and documentary deficiency! Is Dimitar Tsachev, through whose office the grams necessarily pass, also an "unclear identity"?
The Chief Prosecutor, Mr. Geshev, has repeatedly and publicly announced his standards of work.
According to Mr. Geshev's standards, Minister Goranov should be locked up immediately, perhaps shortly after the head of the Customs Agency.
I submitted the signal on March 6, 2020 and two months later I received the quoted answer from the prosecutor's office. And I have been speaking on the subject publicly for 20 years.
Why don't you send the signal to Minister Goranov’s boss - Prime Minister Borissov?
I have sent it. I do claim that a missing amount of nearly a billion is a threat to national security, especially when it’s been carried out by high-level government officials. "The signal is Event № 115" - this is the answer.
When will Mr. Borissov dig deeper and return the BGN 890 million owed to the EU from the public funds, of course?
Over the next three years. But he will have to hurry, because otherwise Bulgaria will not receive other money. Here, in addition to the financial framework, there is a national security and EU security framework, as well as a moral framework. This answers the question “why we will not enter Schengen”. A country that deliberately does not collect its revenues, even after having been warned, will be difficult to be admitted to the banking union. I'm sure both this case and the gambling case will have a sequel. And it's called the European Public Prosecutor's Office. In both cases, state officials have exercised pseudo-control, leading to great non-insurable damage.
Does it come from all this that the Bulgarian society is powerless to deal with the scam?
Not really. For 4 years I have been fighting unsuccessfully with Mr. Boil Banov on the famous "Largo" case. I will wait for the next actions of the prosecutor's office and all this, together with the latest VAT case, will be sent to Ms. Kovesi in the European prosecutor's office. It goes about European money in both cases. Obviously, Mr. Geshev is not welcomed in Europe.
Which scam can fight for the “Masterpiece of the Season” award?
There are several worthy for the prize. I can show exactly how to steal medical supplies during a pandemic. It is difficult to believe that such documents legally exist. In each pharmacy the medical overshoes cost BGN 5 for 100 pieces. However, according to the customs declaration signed by the Minister of Health as an importer of goods from Turkey, a pair of overshoes costs exactly 6 dollars, which is 10.76 levs at the exchange rate of the day.
If they say that it is not a pair of overshoes, but a box with 100 pieces, then it will turn out that we have bought 15 million overshoes – enough to bury the whole population.
Another example. 50 breathing apparatus were imported from China, each worth 30,000 euros. You can find them on the Internet - from the same company and from the same city - at a price of 11,000 euros. Not to mention the imported 1,170 million medical masks at a price of 1.2 euros each which are described in the specification as non-medical and non-sterile. And what do we need them for in the fight against coronavirus? Maybe we'll have carnivals? It’s a blasphemy during an emergency, purely and simply!
From the point of view of public energy and its efficiency, how many of the signals of the Anti-Mafia Legion to the prosecutor's office have led to a real result?
Our success rate is below 10 percent. Not surprising, is it?