SOFIA Oct 17 Bulgaria's prosecutors have
charged two former directors of state electricity firm NEK with
causing financial damage by signing a nuclear deal that cost the
business more than 77 million euros ($86 million).
Bulgaria cancelled its 10 billion euro Belene project with
Russia's Atomstroyexport in 2012 after failing to find foreign
investors and under pressure from Brussels and Washington to
limit its energy dependence on Russia.
NEK now has to pay over 620 million euros ($695 million) in
compensation to Atomstroyexport over the project, which analysts
and politicians say reflects widespread corruption.
On Friday, Sofia City Prosecution accused Ludomir Velkov and
Madrik Papazian of signing a 205 million euro deal to sell the
ageing nuclear equipment to Atomstroyexport in 2007 and agreed
to take all transport and tax expenses.
"The two defendants obliged NEK to take all costs for the
contract's execution, and deduct them from the price the buyer
Atomstroyexport will pay for the equipment of Belene," the
prosecutors said in a statement on Monday.
As part of the deal with the Russian company to build two
new 1,000 megawatt reactors at Belene, Bulgaria had agreed to
sell it an aging nuclear reactor it had at the site.
NEK exported equipment worth 165 million euros to
Atomstroyexport, but the total sum was reduced by 77 million
euros to account for expenses under the contract.
Prosecutors say this reduction damaged NEK's finances and
that the two former executives signed the unfavourable deal
without the consent of the energy ministry, NEK's owner.
Velkov, who was chief executive director at the time of the
deal, and Papazian, who was executive director, were not
immediately available for comment.
They would have to sign daily at a police station until an
indictment is filed in court, prosecutors said.
In 2012, when the public financial inspection agency
announced similar findings, Velkov and Papazian both denied
wrongdoing, saying that any price for the ageing reactor above
the price of scrap metal was favourable.
($1 = 0.8928 euros)
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)