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First Time UK Identifies Individuals from Europe as Serious Corruption Risk – Ambassador Dixon on Recent Sanctions against Bulgarians

“For the first time, we are identifying individuals from Europe as being at risk of serious corruption,” British Ambassador to Bulgaria Rob Dixon told bTV in a Sunday interview.  “This proves our determination to fight corruption globally, no matter where in the world,” the diplomat added.
The US and UK announced sanctions on Friday against several Bulgarians over corruption activities. The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned five current or former officials from Bulgaria: Rumen Ovcharov, Alexander Nikolov, Ivan Genov, Nikolay Malinov and Vladislav Goranov “for corrupt acts that resulted in illicit personal gain, undermined the country’s democratic institutions, and perpetuated its corrosive dependence on Russian energy sources”, the US Embassy in Sofia said on Friday, quoting a statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. In turn, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley announced the imposition of sanctions against three Bulgarians: Delyan Peevski, Ilko Zhelyazkov and Vassil Bojkov “for serious corruption and abuse of public institution funds”. “We underline the seriousness of the corrupt acts committed by these individuals in Bulgaria. For a very long time, property and assets have been stolen from the Bulgarian people and the Bulgarian people have been deprived of what they need for its socio-economic development,” Ambassador Dixon said.
He pointed out that the sanctions imposed by the UK are in agreement with their US partners. The measures, which were put in place on Friday, will cut off these three individuals’ access to the British financial system. They will not be able to trade, to conduct business, economic activity in the UK or with entities registered there, Dixon explained. He said the three sanctioned persons will not be able to enter the UK, even in transit.
The first victims of corruption in Bulgaria are Bulgarian citizens who see their hard-earned assets, funds and resources disappear into the hands of a corrupt minority. Corruption affects the functioning of institutions, public trust and opens the door to interference by hostile states, Ambassador Dixon added.