(DF) Some Lv 60 Mln for Hemus Motorway Construction Transferred to Shell Companies, Taken out in Bags

(BTA) – Most of the money for the construction of the unfinished Hemus Motorway, which is to connect Sofia and the Black Sea port of Varna, have been transferred in advance to companies, even though building permits have not been issued for some of the lots, National Police Director Stanimir Stoev told journalists here on Friday. Construction has not even started yet in other lots, he added. Funds have been transferred in advance for lots 4 and 5, for which building permits have not been issued. A total of 77.5 million leva have been paid for lot 4, of which the State-owned Avtomagistali company has received 72 million leva. A total of 91 million leva have been paid for lot 5, of which the Vodno Stroitelstvo Blagoevgrad company has received 84 million leva. A total of 101 million leva have been allocated for lot 6, of which 96 million have gone to the Patishta Plovdiv company. More than 1 billion leva have been provided for lots 7, 8 and 9, some of which have been also transferred in advance to companies, Stoev said. The Director of the Chief Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDCOC), Kalin Stoyanov, stressed that CDCOC has tracked down the funds allocated for lot 5. The money had been transferred to Avtomagistrali by means of in-house contract but CDCOC found irregularities. In an operation conducted late on Wednesday, the police raided 17 addresses in Sofia, Vidin, Montana and Blagoevgrad, detained 14 people and reported to the prosecution magistracy, Stoyanov said. Ministry of Interior Chief Secretary Peter Todorov said that the money was first transferred to buffer companies and later to shell companies, which had been registered a day earlier with a capital of 2 leva and with low-income persons signed in as owners in exchange for a small sum. Some 60 million were transferred to the shell companies’ accounts and later the same day the money was withdrawn via transactions of 1 million leva each. The cash was taken out in bags. The Interior Ministry has already identified the people who took the bags out, Todorov said.