Deputy Minister of Environment arrested over schemes for waste import

Information on possible charges is expected tomorrow

 Prosecutor's Office van and investigators in front of the Ministry of Environment building

The Deputy Minister of Environment Krassimir Zhivkov was arrested today over an illegal scheme for waste import. Along with Zhivkov, the businessmen brothers Atanas and Plamen Bobоkov, and a former chief of the environmental inspection in Pleven were also arrested.

The Bobоkov brothers own a recycling business, Monbat Recycling, which reprocesses dangerous waste like batteries, lead, polyethylene and polypropylene. The illegal waste has been imported through their companies, prosecutors allege.

The Prosecutor General’s speaker, Siyka Mileva told the media the deputy minister is suspected of operating an illegal scheme for import of dangerous waste. The prosecutors allege the minister has pressured local relevant authorities to issue permits for import of waste from Italy.

The arrests are part of a wide investigation into waste import from Italy, which was opened back in January, after tons of waste was discovered in Pleven. The discovery was preceded by a large operation by Italian authorities, which sized a cargo train full of waste on its way to Bulgaria. The actions by the Italian police prompted the Bulgarian authorities to look into the matter, which led to the discovery of waste sites in Pleven and Bourgas.

Investigators today raided the regional offices of the inspectorate of environment of Plovdiv, offices of the Bobоkov brothers in Rousse and Sofia, at Zhivkov’s homes in Pravets and Botevgrad, and at the building of the Ministry of Environment.

The actual charges, and if such will be raised, will become known on Friday.

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