9 May 2008
The Director of the National Investigation Service (NIS) Boyko Naydenov stated Thursday that much of the capital in Bulgaria came from "dirty money", that were turned into fresh investments though laundering.
Naydenov participated in a round table on the topic "Money Laundering: the Response of the Institutions", which was opened by the Netherlands' Ambassador to Bulgaria Willem van Ee.
"Criminal funds that are laundered through foreign banks come back to Bulgaria in the form of investments", Naydenov said. In his words, the origin of a large part of the funds invested in the resort construction on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast was unclear.
The chief investigator believes that money laundering in Bulgaria was enabled by the practice of cash payments for large-scale deals such as the purchase of real estate or expensive cars. He added that many of the investments in Bulgaria are made by off shore companies, whose capital originated under unknown circumstances.
According to Naydenov, the transfer of the Investigation Service under the National Prosecutor's Office was impossible under Bulgaria's present constitutional arrangements.
During the money laundering round table, the representatives of the State Agency for National Security announced that in 2007 there had been 432 reports for suspicious financial operations worth a total of EUR 260 M.
There had also been 86 enquiries by foreign intelligence services about cases of money laundering where the funds might have been used to support terrorist activities.
The Dutch Ambassador stated that the Netherlands had been rather successful in the efforts to combat money laundering. His Excellency said that Bulgaria was not an exception in its issues with money laundering stressing that the successes of one country in this sphere would help the others, especially in a community such as the EU.
"Money crosses international borders for seconds and everyone in the EU and outside of it should cooperate in the fight against organized crime", Willem van Ee said.
MAy 9, 2008