Monday, June 17, 2019

Bulgarian Officials Took Bitcoin Bribes To Issue Passports

Bulgarian officials took bitcoin bribes as a way of issuing and delivering passports in a swift way, bypassing the normal procedures for foreign applicants. The bribes were in the orders on thousands of euros. The officials have denied being involved in this type of acts and claimed there is no evidence that these bribes ever happened. They remain in custody awaiting for a trial.

Bulgarian Officials Took Bitcoin Bribes To Issue Passports

A group of Bulgarian officials took bitcoin bribes to issue passports to foreign individuals in a rapid way, without having to pass the normal method for issuing these documents. In Bulgaria, this has been a great scandal, with the head of the identification unit for foreign individuals being taken into custody.

Krasimir Tomov and Marco Stoyov, head and secretary of the institution that issued the passports for abroad citizens are detained and waiting for a trial. Their attorney claims that there is no proof of the wrongdoings and thus they cannot be held in custody. But another man has been detained that supposedly served as a middleman for the organization.

According to the local news outlet NOVA, it seems that the operation handled between 5 and 15 illegal applications every week. This would be the biggest illegal operation discovered in this country using cryptocurrencies as a method of avoiding detection.

More Evidence Piles Up

But there is a key witness in this whole matter, the Deputy Head of the Agency Dimitar Vladimirov. He claims to have knowledge of the whole bribes issue and the operation. it is unclear what is going to happen with him because he can be indicted too for being an accomplice.

The smoking gun for this case seems to be the existence of bitcoin wallets that prove that some of the money was indeed handed in the form of cryptocurrencies, according to the prosecutor Angel Kanev.

This scandal has blown pretty high as now people are asking for the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria in charge of the economy and demographical policies, Valeri Simeonov, to resign. He has answered clearly that he will take care of the issues and won’t resign anytime soon.

Cryptocurrencies have often been related to criminal and illegal operations, with criminals often leveraging them to avoid detection from authorities. But in this case, it was the same authorities that used bitcoin as a way of laying low and avoiding detection from its peers. The investigation shows that this group has been operating since last year’s July.

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