On Wednesday news in Bulgaria revolved around Tsvetan Vassilev, the former majority owner of the defunct Corporate Commercial Bank, who is no longer wanted by Interpol according to his lawyer Konstantin Simeonov, who spoke to bTV reported. According to him, an Interpol committee has examined Mr Vassilev's complaint and found that the banker's wanted status had been due to political reasons.
In addition, the investigative website BIRD.bg reported that former National Revenue Agency (NRA) head Rumen Spetsov has purchased an expensive property in Dubai, despite declaring modest income. In other news:
Bulgarian MiG-29 fighters might be temporarily replaced by second-hand Gripens, Mirage 2000s: Defense MinisterModernizing Bulgaria's infantry and solving the pressing problem of the protection of Bulgarian airspace with its own resources will be the most urgent tasks that newly appointed caretaker Defense Minister Dimitar Stoyanov will tackle.
He told journalists on Wednesday that he intends to maintain the direction and priorities set by his predecessor Dragomir Zakov regarding the military's rearmament, so the focus would fall on purchasing infantry fighting vehicles and possibly - artillery, albeit at a higher price than previously assigned to the project. According to Mr Stoyanov, the remaining flight resource of the MiG-29 aircraft allows the Air Force to carry the air policing duty independently until mid-2023. In order to circumvent the potential gap between the expiration date of the old aircraft and the integration of the new F-16s from the US in 2026, Bulgaria will seek to acquire old Mirage 2000 or Gripen fighters from France and Sweden, respectively.
Value of exports up 41% year on year
The value of Bulgarian exports for the first half of 2022 was up 41 percent compared to the same period of 2021, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Institute (NSI) published on Wednesday. In the six months up to July, more than 45.7 billion BGN worth of goods were exported from the country.
Exports to European markets are growing faster than to other countries, and the biggest increase was recorded in exports of energy resources. In June alone, Bulgarian exports amounted to almost 3 billion BGN, an increase of 52 percent year-on-year. This is the 17th consecutive month of export growth after the decline ushered in by the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Industrial production contracted slightly in June compared to May, annual growth is 17.4%
Industrial production decreased by 0.8 percent in June compared to May, but still grew by 17.4 percent year-on-year compared to the same month in 2021, NSI said. The index of output in the construction sector was 1.4 percent below the level of the previous month and 0.5 percent below that achieved in June 2021. In retail trade, turnover contracted 1.4 percent from May and remained unchanged from a year earlier.