SOFIA, June 28 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor said on Friday he had asked the government to withdraw Bulgarian passports held by three Russians and a Kazakh national over irregularities that would have disqualified them from citizenship.
The request came as the government plans to halt a scheme that allows rich foreigners to buy citizenship with a minimum 1-million-lev ($582,000) investment, on grounds it had failed to bring any significant economic benefit to the EU country.
The European Union’s executive commission is concerned that such schemes could help foreign organised crime groups infiltrate the 28-member bloc. Bulgaria is ranked as the EU state most prone to corruption and organised crime.
Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said Sergey Druzhinin, a Russian, and Kazakh Kahir Rahimov, who obtained Bulgarian passports in 2011, had concealed information that would have ruled them out for Bulgarian citizenship.
Two other Russians, Vladislav Levitskiy and Galina Ulyutina, had not fulfilled a requirement for investment by foreigners within a two-year period, Tsatsarov said in a statement.
Ulyutina is the wife of Yuri Soloviev, First Deputy Chairman of VTB Bank, one of Russia’s largest state-owned banks.
“The prosecutor’s office received indications from the national security agency that violations were committed during the procedure for acquisition of citizenship as well as for non-fulfillment of obligations ...(for) investment,” he said.
None of the three Russians and the Kazakh named by Tsatsarov could be reached for comment.
Tsatsarov sent his request to the Justice Ministry which is expected to forward it to Bulgaria’s president for a final ruling.
Tsatsarov’s office said other cases of violations of the citizenship law uncovered by the security agency were under investigation. Obtaining a Bulgarian passport opens the door for the holder to most EU countries. ($1 = 1.7165 leva) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov Editing by Mark Heinrich)