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6 Nov 2021

Denitsa Koseva, Intellinews

Bulgaria: Hemus motorway construction marred by corruption scandal, more than 10 suspects arrested

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Bulgaria reveals how millions of euros were siphoned off from Hemus motorway construction, 6 November 2021

Around BGN60mn (€30.7mn) paid in advance for the construction of Lot 5 of Bulgaria’s Hemus motorway was transferred to shell companies and then exported from the country in bags and sacks, caretaker Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov said on November 5.

A day earlier, the arrest of more than 10 people suspected of involvement in stealing money paid in advance for the construction of the motorway was announced...

BGN84mn was paid in advance to the company Vodno Stroitelstvo-Blagoevgrad under a contract signed with the state-owned company Avtomagistrali. Radio Free Europe has reported that, according to its unofficial information, the company’s owner, Viktor Velev, was among those arrested...

The BGN84mn was paid by Avtomagistrali at a time when even the route of the Lot 5 stretch had not been decided, caretaker Deputy Regional Development Minister Ivan Shishkov said. The government only decided to initiate the procedure to select the route in the last few days, but the money was paid in 2020.

Another section of the motorway – Lot 4 – also did not have the proper documents allowing the start of its construction. However, Avtomagistrali paid for that section in advance as well, the head of the state construction supervision Vladi Kalinov said.

At the end of October, the interior ministry, the National Revenue Agency and the Agency for State Financial Inspection raided the offices of Avtomagistrali, seizing documents and computers related to the Hemus motorway construction...