Former Head of National Road Infrastructure Fund Probed for Misusing Over BGN 100 Mln

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Former Head of National Road Infrastructure Fund Probed for Misusing Over BGN 100 Mln

The former director of the National Road Infrastructure Fund (NRIF), Vesselin Georgiev, is being probed by Sofia City Prosecution Office for abuse of office and misuse of more than 100 million leva, BTA reports.

Sofia's chief prosecutor Nikola Kokinov said Thursday that they have opened pre-trail proceedings based on a report by the National Audit Office indicating multiple violations at NRIF. The violations include non-compliance with the public procurement procedures and possible misuse of over 100 million leva. Kokinov said that experts are yet to establish the exact amount of the money.

At this stage proceedings have been initiated only against Vesselin Georgiev. He has not yet been questioned and no charges have been pressed against him.

According to Kokinov, Georgiev was definitely involved in a conflict of interests when he awarded NRIF-funded contracts to his brother's company, but it is yet to be established if it was a criminal conflict or not.

Georgiev lost his job as NRIF chief in early February when it transpired that he had been awarding contracts to his brother's company. The alleged conflict of interests, coupled with the arrest of two senior NRIF officers (Lyubomir Lilov and Ivan Vladimirov) on bribery charges, have resulted in a temporary suspension of EU funding for Bulgarian road infrastructure projects.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sofia City Court refused to release from arrest Lilov, who was Director of NRIF's EU Funds Absorption Directorate, and Ivan Vladimirov, Chief of the Preparation, Tenders and Contracting Sector of the said Directorate. The two were arrested in January with a 25,000 leva bribe.

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