27 March 2013. Bulgaria’s former agriculture minister Miroslav Naidenov was charged on Tuesday with corruption linked to a EU-backed food distribution scheme.
Naidenov is the first minister to be charged from the previous government led by Boiko Borisov’s GERB party that was widely accused of failing to tackle chronic crime and resigned last month after protests against low living standards.
Naidenov,44, is alleged to have favoured a food producer to win a tender in 2010 to supply an European Union-backed programme to distribute food to disadvantaged people.
He was also charged with promising a bribe of 200,000 levs ($131,700) in 2010 to a senior official at the state agricultural fund which disburses EU aid to farmers.
Prosecutors accuse Naidenov of putting pressure on the official to sign orders granting a tax refund to two domestic food producers.
Naidenov denied any wrongdoing. Failing to show tangible progress has led to sanctions from Brussels, which cut access to millions of euros in aid in previous years.