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Bulgaria's Ex Deputy Interior Minister Acquitted on Bribery Charges

Date: 29.06.2010

Sofia City Court has acquitted Bulgaria's former Deputy Interior Minister Raif Mustafa and the businessman Rosen Marinov, after the Prosecution's Office has asked for 10 years imprisonment for each on bribery charges.

The two were charged with offering a bribe to the former Head of Bulgaria's Fishing Agency, Marin Dimitrov, to withdraw a claim submitted to the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) with which Dimitrov wanted to stop a public tender won by Marinov.

Rosen Marinov, owner of the "Auto Engineering" company, won a public tender for the supply of cutters to the Fishing Agency before the time Dimitrov became its director. Upon being assigned to the post, the latter ordered a halt on all public tenders over lack of financing. Marinov then appealed before the Commission for Competition Protection (KZD) and won. Dimitrov, on his turn, appealed the KZD decision with VAS.

Mustafa became involved in the affair as an intermediary between the 2 because he knew both Marinov and Dimitrov. The Deputy Interior Minister, who was part of the previous Three-Way Coalition cabinet on the ticket of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party, was an acquittance of the Fishing Agency Director from the time they worked together in the police department in the southern city of Kardzhali. Because of his ties, Mustafa became the person offering Dimitrov the bribe.

Rosen Marinov was arrested in June 2009 in his offices and spent time in jail before being released on bail. Mustafa resigned as Deputy Interior Minister, but was never arrested.

The Prosecutor accuses Mustafa of offering Dimitrov to withdraw his claim against the cutters' order in exchange for BGN 50 000. He had been able to arrange a meeting between the 2 parties during which the businessman (Marinov) increased the bribe offer to BGN 100 000.

The conclusion of the graphology expertise of the notes with the bribe amount that were, allegedly, handed by the defendants to the Fishing Agency Head, said it was “possible” that the text has been written by Mustafa.

The Prosecutor Plamen Georgiev said that Marinov is “a person with very difficult corruption attitude”.

“In this trial attacking the Prosecution's Office is becoming a trade mark to some lawyers,” Georgiev said.

He also added that according to data from Bulgaria's Special Investigative Service (SRS), Marinov was aware that you pay for the trial to be set as you wish. In Georgiev's words, Marinvo has also known the Court's rates.

“Ruling the maximum penalty will give an example to the society for a general prevention,” the Prosecutor said.

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