June 7 (BTA) – Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on Sunday denied allegations by fugitive gambling mogul Vassil Bojkov that Sevdelina Arnaoudova, head of the government press service, had visited his office every month in the past years. Arnaoudova herself responded that since she has been working for the government all her meetings with businessmen have been recorded and that her last meeting with Bojkov was when he visited GERB’s headquarters together with bTV CEO Florian Skala.
“I’ve never sent anyone, I’ve never been there and I don’t want to be part of this game,” said Borissov while he was inspecting the third metro line of the Sofia underground.
Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov who accompanied Borissov, said that Bojkov’s allegations are manipulative and aim to discredit the government. “If he has evidence, he’d better present it and end this circus,” said Goranov.
Once considered to be the wealthiest Bulgarian with assets worth between 1.5 and 3 billion leva, Bojkov lost his gambling empire in early 2020 when Parliament outlawed private lotteries and was charged with evasion of more than 700 million leva in gambling licensing fees, money laundering, extortion, bribery, murder, abetting in murder, attempted rape, leading an organized crime group since 2014, trading in influence, and unlawful possession of cultural assets. The businessman left the country before the full-scale crackdown against him and is now in the United Arab Emirates, from where Bulgaria is seeking his extradition.
In a series of disclosures which he started publishing on Facebook in May, Bojkov alleged that he had been forced by Borissov and Goranov to pay them a 20 per cent cut of his business proceeds, that he had tried to sell half of his lottery business to a Czech company for 1 billion leva, but the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister caught wind of it and tried to make him transfer a majority interest in it to a person named by them, and that they had attacked his business when he declined to do their bidding.
Bojkov said he had formally alerted the prosecution service, and Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev confirmed earlier this week that the alert had been assigned to a prosecutor for investigation. According to the purported alert, between 2017 and the end of 2019 Bojkov paid 60 million leva personally to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister as they demanded and instructed him to do so. To prove that, he is ready to testify before a prosecutor and to present evidence, including documents, bank statements, CCTV footage, photos and witness testimony. RI/PP