Bulgaria releases three energy fraud operation bosses
Bulgaria’s National Electric Company (NEK) CEOs Krum A. and Ivo L., along with Sabin S., the CEO of Worley Parsons, arrested earlier over allegations of irregularities supposedly occurred in relation to the construction of the Russian-sponsored Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Belene, have been released from custody, Bulgarian media reported in September 2013.
Sofia City Prosecutor Office spokesperson Zornitsa Taskova stated that the three bosses could legally only be held in custody for 24 consecutive hours.
Media outlets reported that they were released with the status of witnesses to the case, with so far none being officially charged. Law enforcement is analyzing documents pertaining to the case, which were seized from the offices of Worley Parsons and Risk Engineering.
The State Agency for National Security detained the three bosses over allegations of embezzlement and intentional negligence. Worley Parsons and Risk Engineering as its subcontractor were contracted by the NEK to oversee the maintenance and the construction of the nuclear plant. Documents leaked to the press in early September 2013 revealed that the two companies continued to receive EUR 950,000 commission fees monthly, even though the power station project was discontinued in March 2012.
Bogomil M., the CEO of Risk Engineering who was also detained as suspect in the case and subsequently released, denied all allegations stating that the payments continued because the two companies were never notified of the contract termination. He also added that “the Belene case had political background”.
In the meantime, Russia’s Atomstroyexport is allegedly considering a EUR 1 billion appeal against NEK over the cancellation of the plant’s construction.