The US Treasury Department said it sanctioned on Wednesday Bulgarian businessman Vassil Bojkov, former MP Delyan Peevski and Ilko Zhelyazkov - the former deputy chief of the Bulgarian State Agency for Technical Operations who was appointed to the National Bureau for Control on Special Intelligence-Gathering Devices, for their "extensive roles in corruption in Bulgaria", as well as their networks encompassing 64 entities.
As a result of the sanctions all property and interests in property of the three individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the US Treasury Department said. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.
Unless authorised by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person, the US Treasury Department added. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
These sanctions coincide with complementary actions taken by the US Department of State to publicly designate Peevski and Zhelyazkov, among others, due to their involvement in significant corruption, the statement reads.
"The corrupt activities undertaken by the individuals designated today demonstrate how pervasive corruption goes hand-in-hand with other illicit activity. [...] Today’s designation exposes Bojkov, Peevski, and Zhelyazkov for abusing public institutions for profit and cuts off these individuals’ and their companies’ access to the U.S. financial system," the US Treasury Department said.
The designations constitute the largest Global Magnitsky action taken on a single day in the history of the programme, the department noted.
According to the US Treasury Dept, Bojkov has bribed government officials, including a current political leader and the former chairman of the now-abolished State Commission on Gambling (SCG), on several occasions. He also planned to provide a sum of money to a former Bulgarian official and a Bulgarian politician earlier this year to help him create a channel for Russian political leaders to influence Bulgarian government officials, the department said.
OFAC is designating 58 entities, including Bulgaria-registered political party Bulgarian Summer, owned or controlled by Bojkov or one of his companies.
A list of the names of those entities follows:
Vabo-2005 EOOD, Digital Services EAD, Ede 2 EOOD, Nove Internal EOOD, Moststroy Iztok AD, Galenit Invest AD, Vabo 2008 EOOD, Vertex Properties EOOD, VB Management EOOD, Va Bo Company EOOD, Vabo Management EOOD, Vabo 2012 EOOD, Prim BG EAD, Eurogroup Engineering EAD, Kristiano GR 53 JSC AD, Nove-AD-Holding AD, Bul Partners Travel OOD, Bullet Trade OOD, Caritex Lucky AD, Sizif V OOD, Thrace Foundation, Vabo Internal AD, and Bulgarian Summer are owned or controlled by Bojkov.
Rex Loto AD is owned or controlled by Vabo-2005 EOOD; Eurobet Partners OOD is owned or controlled by Digital Services EAD; Eurobet OOD is owned or controlled by Eurobet Partners OOD; Eurobet Trading EOOD is owned or controlled by Eurobet OOD; Vabo Systems EOOD, Vato 2002 EOOD, Nove Development EOOD, Property-VB OOD, Trans Nove OOD, Nove Partners OOD, Adler BG AD, Efbet Partners OOD, and Internews 98 OOD are owned or controlled by Nove Internal EOOD; Eurosadruzhie OOD and Decart OOD are owned or controlled by Vabo Systems EOOD;
Numerical Games OOD, Lottery Distributions OOD, National Lottery OOD, and Eurofootball OOD are owned or controlled by Eurosadruzhie OOD.
National Lottery AD is owned or controlled by Nove Development EOOD; Meliora Academica EOOD, Domino Games OOD, and ML Build EAD are owned or controlled by Decart OOD; Games Unlimited OOD is owned or controlled by VB Management EOOD; Evrobet - Rumania EOOD and Old Games EOOD are owned or controlled by Games Unlimited OOD; Vihrogonika AD is owned or controlled by Vabo Management EOOD; Vabo 2017 OOD and Lottery BG OOD are owned or controlled by Vabo 2012 EOOD; Siguro EOOD is owned or controlled by Eurogroup Engineering EAD.
Trakia-Papir 96 OOD, Parkstroy-Sofia OOD, Publishing House Sport LTD, and CSKA Basketball Club are owned or controlled by Nove-AD-Holding AD. Ancient Heritage AD is owned or controlled by Thrace Foundation.
As regards Delyan Peevski, the US Treasury Department said that he regularly engaged in corruption, using influence peddling and bribes to protect himself from public scrutiny and exert control over key institutions and sectors in Bulgarian society, and he actively worked to negatively influence the political process in the October 27, 2019 municipal elections. According to the US Treasury Department, Peevski used his front man Zhelyazkov to conduct a bribery scheme involving Bulgarian residency documents for foreign persons, as well as to bribe government officials through various means in exchange for their information and loyalty.
OFAC is designating six Bulgaria-registered entities owned or controlled by Peevski or one of his companies. These include Int Ltd EOOD and Intrust PLC EAD - owned by Peevski as well as BM Systems EAD, Int Invest EOOD, Inttrafik EOOD, and Real Estates Int Ltd EOOD - owned by Intrust PLC EAD.