Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General’s office is to request the dismissal of Lesovo border checkpoint customs officers arrested for bribery on November 2, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said on November 18.
The reason for the request is to prevent a repeat of the pattern of customs staff arrested for bribery returning to work at the border.
There has been a succession of arrests of Bulgarian customs officers and Border Police for bribery. Some media reports have indicated that some have been arrested for the same offence more than once.
The November 2 2016 bust at the Lesovo border checkpoint was practically a re-run of one that took place, by coincidence, on precisely the same date two years earlier. Bulgarian media now refer to the 2016 arrests as “Lesovo 2”.
The Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson said that the seven customs officers arrested on November 2 2016 had been released by the court, some under house arrest, some on bail and some without bail.
Prosecutors have filed an application for the confiscation of assets acquired through crime.
At the time of the arrests, it emerged that the customs officers were allegedly accepting bribes of an average 200 leva (about 100 euro) to allow people to pass the Lesovo border checkpoint unchecked.
Allegedly, a customary phrase was, “what will be your treat, soup or coffee?”. Prosecutors said that there was no fixed rate or currency for the bribes.
The bribes accepted were handed to the chief of the shift to distribute. The cash was kept concealed in the dossiers of the Customs archives, prosecutors said./IBNA