Thursday's news in Bulgaria was dominated by last night's announcement that the US Treasury sanctioned three Bulgarian individuals under the Magnitsky Act - Delyan Peevski, Vassil Bojkov, and Ilko Zhelyazkov, for their extensive roles in corruption - more details on the act in today's piece in K Insights here.
Reactions to US sanctions
Former MRF MP and businessman Delyan Peevski said he had informed his lawyers in the United States about the sanctions against him and would take all legal action against them. Significantly, the process is not subject to judicial review and Peevski is unlikely to change the result. The MRF called for the eradication of corruption, but demanded evidence for the decision over sanctions, and said it would support Peevski's personal position.
In response to media inquiries, a spokesman for the European Commission said that the EU will not be retaliating against the US over the sanctions as they are not binding for member states. The spokesman added that Brussels was monitoring recent events in Bulgaria and these would be reflected in the report on the rule of law expected in July.
"All necessary steps will be taken against all persons named in the report in accordance with the legal authority of the prosecutor's office to verify the information disclosed by the US authorities, including by requiring additional such information in due course," the prosecutor's office said.
Former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov also responded to the news - by claiming that he only knew of Peevski in his capacity as an MP. "I know nothing more about him and I don't want to know anything more."
Ryanair to increase flights from Sofia
The Irish low-cost airline is to launch more flights from Sofia. Ryanair has announced 4 new routes - to Bucharest, Malaga, Malta, and Zagreb, as part of its summer flight schedule. Also, as of July, flights to Dublin will increase to three times per week. The flights to Malaga will launch in July whereas the rest of the routes launch in August. All are scheduled until the end of October.
Six startups become part of Visa's fintech program
The young companies participated in the third edition of the Visa Innovation Program initiative in Bulgaria, organized in partnership with the Eleven VC fund. The program aims to support the development of the fintech industry in the region. Among the chosen startups is the local firm Rilla which is developing an app for personal finance management.