On Thursday more disturbing facts emerged regarding the fatal crash that killed two young women in central Sofia on Tuesday. It turned out that a police woman was accompanying driver Georgi Semerdzhiev in the car during the incident, and likely helped him escape from the scene of the crime, according to Internal Minister Boyko Rashkov. Two separate allegations about the possible police cover-up over Semerdzhiev also surfaced. Both claimed that he was part of a drug distribution ring that was investigated by the police and he might have benefited from the "protected witness" status. In other news:
President Radev bashes government, PM, over the dismissal of 70 Russian diplomats
President Rumen Radev has told journalists that the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomatic staff in one go was an unprecedented act, the responsibility for which lay with the government and the coalition's leaders. Radev claimed that the government's action raises the risk for Bulgaria - "for our energy, for our economy and above all for the citizens". Anyone who works against Bulgaria's interests must bear the consequences, but this must be done in accordance with established procedures and supported by evidence, he added.
Bulgargaz calls for a 32 percent increase in natural gas price for July ahead of regulator decision
"Bulgargaz proposes the price of natural gas in July to be 186.47 BGN per MWh, excluding access fees, transmission excise and VAT," the CEO of the state-owned monopolist Lyudmil Yotsov told Parliament on Thursday. This amounts to a 32 percent price increase, he told members of an ad hoc committee to examine the circumstances that led to the suspension of natural gas export from Gazprom, and the procedure for selecting alternative suppliers by Bulgargaz. The natural gas price for June, approved by the Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission, KEVR, was 141.36 BGN per MWh. He claimed that the price hike had been caused by the recent reliance on short-term contracts. There is enough supply from tankers and Azerbaijan for July and August, Mr Yotsov added.
Sofia Central Heating to be covertly privatized: Capital weekly
A private investor will be allowed to build new capacities in the municipal-owned Sofia Central Heating company in exchange for the right to manage the company for 35 years. This, in short, is the proposal for the future of Sofia's heating. The plan was approved by the GERB-controlled majority in the Sofia Municipal Council with 43 votes in favor, 4 against and 3 abstentions. The decision has been based on the report of the US consultancy Black & Veatch that produced controversy when it appeared at the end of 2021. Although the model is not formally framed as a concession, the effect will be similar, Capital Weekly writes. According to the conditions set, Sofia Municipality will retain 100 percent of its stake in the company, but would not participate in the financing of the planned investments and would not receive any concession fee.