New charges against sanctioned Bulgarian oligarch Vasil Bozhkov for his ties to the Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, killed in an air crash, could harm Boyko Borissov’s political strength and throw Bulgaria into a recent political crisis.
Bozhkov was charged on August 26 with contract killings, extortion, and avoiding hundreds of millions of euros in state fees for his gambling business after deciding to return to Bulgaria after three years in Dubai to “prove his innocence in court.”
What evidences of Bozkov-Prigozhin were exposed
“From a computer with Vasil Bozhkov’s email, it is clear that he had business relations with the Russian citizen Yevgeny Prigozhin and several other Russian citizens sanctioned after the annexation of Crimea,”Prosecutor Angel Kanev from the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office.
This was discovered over two and a half years ago, but the prosecutor is only now reporting on it.
There are no allegations of sanctions violations against Bozhkov among the 19 charges levelled against him. The prosecution’s claims, according to Bozhkov, are “nonsense.”
The prosecutor also stated Bozhkov is being investigated in Moldova for tax fraud and money laundering.
The return of Bozhkov has been widely covered in Bulgaria, and it has the potential to impact the country’s political life significantly.
Bozkov-Borissov criminal bribes
Bozhkov is expected to be called as a witness because of his claims that he paid more than €30 million in bribes to Boyko Borissov, the leader of Bulgaria’s largest party and the country’s long-serving former prime minister, as well as his former finance minister Vladislav Goranov.
The US sanctioned Goranov earlier this year in response to Bozhkov’s statements, indicating that Washington believes some of the oligarch’s claims are true.
Borissov is currently a vital member of the coalition. Without his backing, Bulgaria could face a new political crisis when the EU is counting on pro-European governance in Sofia.