Bulgarian govt survives no-confidence vote over corruption

Bulgarian govt survives no-confidence vote over corruption

Bulgaria's ruling coalition comprising GERB and the nationalist alliance United Patriots survived on Tuesday a no-confidence vote over corruption filed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), parliament said. The vote comes amid a wave of anti-corruption protests seeking an overhaul of the judiciary and the resignation of chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev and the cabinet. The motion was rejected in a 124-to-102 vote, as eleven members of parliament abstained from voting, parliament's press office said. This is the fifth no-confidence vote which the government survived. In its motives for filing the motion last week, BSP said the government is serving the interests of oligarchs who remain unpunished for the crimes they commit. The Socialists also requested that ad hoc committees be set up - one to probe the participation of state-owned Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) in the capital increase of privately-held First Investment Bank (Fibank), and another one to look into the alleged tax evasion in the amount of 700 million levs by fugitive gambling tycoon Vasil Bozhkov. Earlier in July, Fibank raised 195.4 million levs ($112.8 million/99.9 million euro) via a new share issue, with the BDB set to become the owner of 18.35% of Fibank. The BDB subscribed for the shares at a price of 5 levs apiece, representing a 92% premium over the existing shares' closing price of 2.6 levs on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange at the time of the auction of the subscription rights. Bozhkov has been in a self-imposed exile in Dubai since January, as he is facing dozens of charges in Bulgaria, including bribery, extortion, tax fraud, among others.

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