Catalan police investigating money laundering scheme connected to PM Boyko Borissov

Borissov saw a Russian conspiracy in the allegations, which he categorically denied

PM Boyko Borissov

The police in Barcelona, the Mossos d’Esquadra, together with Spanish anticorruption prosecutors are investigating a money laundering scheme, which has now led  to PM Boyko Borissov, the Barcelona-based elPeriódico reports. The scheme is international and involves a Bulgarian former model, Borislava Yovcheva.

The PM denied any knowledge or connection to the case to journalists on Friday, after the news broke. Instead, answering journalists’ questions, Borissov implied the report must be part of a hybrid effort on the part of Russian agents and President Roumen Radev. Although he did not name either one explicitly, he gave references to point to them.

In 2016 during a scandal in Bulgaria, known as YanevaGate involving the PM and several judges, a possible connection between the PM and Yovcheva emerged. The scandal involved recordings, in which judge Vladimira Yaneva could be heard talking about corruption schemes. The tapes contain mentions about a house in Barcelona that Borissov allegedly bought for an intimate secret partner.

The possible connection between Borissov, Yovcheva and the house in Barcelona reemerged once again today in the Bulgarian media after the publication in elPeriódico. Asked to comment, Borissov told reporters Friday:

“I will say for the hundredth time, I have no house, no real estate, nor have I been [in Barcelona].” He answered a follow-up and clarified he visited Barcelona maybe once as Sofia mayor about 15 years ago.

The Catalan police are investigating two companies, registered in Barcelona and owned by Yovcheva and her father, which have received massive funds over the years. Investigators have discovered the companies Numin Invest SL and EMA BGS SL have received installments exceeding five million euro since 2013. elPeriódico reports the transfers were made by a natural person outside Spain.

The Mossos d’Esquadra started the investigation following information it received from the Bulgarian anti-corruption civil society organization BOETS. The organization alleged a money laundering scheme involving the two companies. The file also mentions the alleged relationship between Yovcheva and the PM. BOETS filed the report with the Catalan police in March, 2019. The police are now trying to determine the origin of the funds and the possible connection with Borissov.

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