Two Bulgarian government officials and a Serbian citizen acting as a mediator have been captured on claims of issuing Bulgarian passports to foreign people in exchange of Bitcoin.
According to the local news agency NOVA, Bulgarian court accused 2 officials who held administrative positions in the National Agency for Bulgarian Citizens Abroad, by receiving illegal payments to issue identity documents for foreign individuals from Makedonia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The prosecutor office report added that they were issuing 15 passports weekly since July 2017.
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Chief Prosecutor of the State Ivan Geshev stated:
“Peter Haralampiev, Krasimir Tomov, and Mark Stoyov have been arrested for fraud with the issuance of Bulgarian passports to Ukrainian, Moldovan and Macedonian citizens.”
While the attorney of the accused officials denies any involvement or receipt of illegal payments from his clients, the Prosecutor General states that they have proof to demonstrate that the procedure was conducted using a digital currency as a method of payment.
“There is no evidence that suggests either of the two accused individuals have received any funds,” the defense attorney said.
The prosecution said, “Authorities have confiscated Bitcoin wallets, which prove that some of the bribe money has been converted to cryptocurrency.”
The Bulgarian passports were sold to citizens from Ukraine, Moldova, and Makedonia for 5,000 euro. Bulgaria is part of the European Union since 2007, so people who hold Bulgarian passport can travel and live in EU without limitations.