Bulgaria’s deputy prime minister announced the launch of a special unit to investigate major cases of government graft. The new unit started operations Monday under Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov.
The government thinks as many as 7,670 officials could be targeted for investigation, Reuters said.
Whistleblowers who report suspected corruption will receive cash awards if their information leads to convictions.
The special investigation unit will be called the “Single Anti-Corruption Body” — abbreviated the EAO in Bulgarian.
It has about 50 members, including prosecutors, investigators, and inspectors.
Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva talked about the government’s new anti-graft efforts.
“Bulgaria has a problem with corruption,” she said Friday. “We do not have progress in the fight against corruption on high levels.”
In October last year, Bulgarians elected a center-right government under Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. He promised to fight graft and judicial corruption.
Kuneva was appointed deputy prime minister in November. She has a law degree from Sofia University. And she studied at Georgetown University in the U.S. and Oxford in the UK.
Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. It’s the poorest country among the EU’s 28 members. Concerns about graft and judicial corruption have kept the country out of the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone.
On TI’s corruption perceptions index, Bulgaria ranks near the bottom of the EU countries (but above Greece, Italy, and Romania).
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.