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(DF) US State Department Designates Judge Andon Mitalov Due to Involvement in Significant Corruption

February 5 (BTA) – In a statement published by the US Embassy here on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly designated judge Andon Mitalov due to involvement in significant corruption. “In his official capacity, Mitalov was involved in corrupt acts that undermined the rule of law and severely compromised the independence of democratic institutions in Bulgaria,” according to the press release. This designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94). Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. “This is the first such designation in Bulgaria and reaffirms the US commitment to combatting corruption in Bulgaria and globally,” the press release says. Andon Mitalov is a specialized court judge who allowed Russophiles National Movement leader Nikolai Malinov, who had been charged with espionage in Bulgaria and banned from leaving the country, to travel to Moscow to receive the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin in early November 2019. Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov subsequently asked the Inspectorate with the Supreme Judicial Council to carry a check of Mitalov. RY/PP