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Bulgarian report Bulgarian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-08-20 09:23:46
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Ex PM Stanishev escapes court, faces slim fine

Sergey Stanishev, Bulgaria's former prime minister and leader of the opposition Socialist Party, who was charged last year over the leak of a classified report on organized crime, should be punished with a fine, prosecutors have said. Prosecutors say the former prime minister is guilty of losing seven confidential documents, which he has received personally and has signed. The indictment was tabled to the court more than a year after Stanishev was officially charged amid lots of media fuss.

Because of his clear criminal record the prosecutors have proposed that Stanishevis not tried in court and is imposed a fine, which may range between BGN 1,000 to BGN 5,000. There have been suspicions that the alleged concealment of the confidential documents, which triggered the investigation against him, was a plot hatched by Stanishev himself in a bid to escape prosecution. Late in October 2009 Stanishev was questioned over the concealment and leaking of the classified report, but denied any wrongdoing and described the case as provocation and undue use of "pressure".

He was officially charged in July 2010. The contentious year-old top secret report by the National Security Agency (DANS), which sheds light on the influence of criminal organizations within certain ministries and state agencies, was mysteriously handed over to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov by notorious security agent Aleksei Petrov at the end of October and was unofficially published online days after. Stanishev claimed he properly returned the report to DANS, as required by law. He also relinquished his immunity as a MP, in order to facilitate the proceedings.


Shutting Lukoil is national security threat

The decision to close the only refinery in Bulgaria, owned by Russia's Lukoil, could have turned into a national security threat. The statement was made by Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who spoke in a Wednesday morning interview for the Bulgarian National Television, BNT. Tsvetanov said the country has fuel reserves to only last for a month, adding when such crucial decisions are made, there should be a clear action plan. He further informed the Interior Ministry has a BGN 8 M debt to Lukoil and there is a proposal for differed payments.

Regarding the recent order, banning donations to the police from private companies and individuals, the Minister declared his decision was based on thorough analysis, not pressure. According to Tsvetanov, he signed the order with the goal of halting all speculations and insinuations on the issue.

He denied reports the exceptions from the ban, allowing municipalities and State-owned companies to make donations, would turn into a concealed form of corruption, by giving an example with a municipality which wished to donate some unused buildings to the Interior Ministry. "And why would we refuse to take them? Don't think we want to hide information from the public. Donations have been part of the system for the last 20 years as the only way to compensate for budget shortages," Tsvetanov pointed out.


Food prices jumped 22 per cent in a year

Prices of major food products in Bulgaria increased by 22 per cent in the year up to July 2011, the chairperson of Bulgaria’s State Commission on Commodity Exchanges and Wholesale Markets, Eduard Stoichev, said in an interview with Bulgarian National Radio. The statistics are based on tracking the prices of 15 foodstuffs, including sugar, flour, oil, meat and dairy products. In a larger group of 190 products monitored by the commission, the increase year-on-year to July 2001 is about eight per cent.

Sugar has increased in price in Bulgaria by 75 per cent in eight months. On August 15 2011, the World Bank released its latest Food Price Watch report, which said that global food prices in July 2011 remained significantly higher than a year ago. Prices overall remained 33 per cent higher than a year ago with commodities such as maize (up 84 per cent), sugar (up 62 per cent), wheat (up 55 per cent) and soybean oil (up 47 per cent) contributing to the increase. Crude oil prices are 45 per cent higher from July 2010 levels, affecting production costs and the price of fertilisers, which increased by 67 per cent over the same period.
Prices from April through to July settled roughly five per cent below the recent spike in February 2011 due to modest declines in grains, fats and oil, and other foods such as meat, fruits, and sugar. However, prices of some commodities remained volatile during this period. For example, maize and wheat prices declined in June and then increased in the first half of July. The price of rice fell from February to May, but has since increased. The quarterly report warns that vigilance is needed as global food stocks remain low and expected volatility in the prices of sugar, rice, and petroleum products could have unexpected effects on food prices in the months ahead. Uncertainties about the global economy combined with the political situation in the Middle East and North Africa region will likely to keep oil prices volatile in the short term, it said.

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