According to FinTelegram, the Israeli cybercrime principal Gal Barak, sentenced in 2020 to several years in prison for investment fraud and some €4 million in restitution payments, was a friend of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. At least Gal Barak and his Bulgarian wife Marina Andreeva gave him and his minister friends nice money gifts and was therefore protected by the state. Boyko Borissov was detained on 17 March 2022 amid a wide-sweeping police investigation linked to probes by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
According to Politico, the former chair of the parliamentary budgetary commission Menda Stoyanova and Borissov’s media adviser Sevdalina Arnaudova were also detained, Bulgaria’s Dnevnik newspaper reported. Borissov dominated Bulgaria’s politics for more than a decade. He was forced out of power in April last year amid a rule-of-law crisis.
In a move that could be a huge moment of reckoning for Bulgaria, the ministry said that a large-scale operation was underway in connection with 120 cases of potential fraud being investigated by the European Prosecutor’s Office. The EU prosecutor herself, Laura Codruța Kövesi, visited Bulgaria in the past few days, raising the prospect of action against the widespread abuse of EU funds in sectors such as agriculture, construction, and public works. Bulgaria has been known as one of the most corrupt EU member states.
Borissov’s lawyer Menko Menkov told reporters the former prime minister “has not been charged for the time being. The police have carried out a search at his home. He has been taken to the headquarters of the national police where he most likely will be detained for 24 hours.” Menkov later said that Borissov’s case related to extortion, rather than to abuse of EU funds.
The arrest restores the belief in the rule of law and justice. Even more so if it comes to corrupt high-ranking EU politicians. Corruption is a plague that destroys society.