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Bulgaria and Italy Collude in Cross-border Corruption

Date: 27.01.2010

The mayor of the Italian city of Bologna has been accused of involvement in a corruption scheme with state money used for property investment in Bulgaria.

The investigation and ensuing scandal have now led to the resignation of the mayor. He has confirmed that he will step down within 20 days.

Mayor of Bologna Flavio Delbono was accused of using state funds to acquire 50 % of Bulgarian company Bulfrantz. Moreover Delbono bought and resold properties in Bulgaria.

Prosecutors have claimed that his private visits to Sofia were paid for with Municipal money. The same applied to the costs of his lover, his former secretary, Cinzia Cracchi, who accompanied him to Bulgaria.

The scandal in Bologna erupted precisely because of his relationship with the woman. After their affair ended, his mistress submitted the charges against him which ultimately led to the investigation.

Delbono ensured that his business in Bulgaria was fully legitimate. The object of investigations are transactions made between 2005 and 2006, when the Mayor was a regional adviser to the municipality budget.

He developed his alleged operations in Bulgaria through an Italian accountant working and living in the country.

Coincidentally, it has also been revealed that a Bulgarian company was part of a scheme to conceal taxes and excise taxes from the sale of cars imported from Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

The cars received registration documents in Italy, before being resold in Bulgaria. According to the tax police in Frosinone, Italy, it was a business worth many millions, as the Bulgarian firm, whose name has so far not been reported, had hidden invoices for more than EUR 4 M from the Italian authorities.

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