The National Investigation Service is investigating a former Minister of Energy, his deputy and a former director of Bulgargaz for official crimes. As a result of their actions, BGN 88 million worth of damage was caused to Bulgargas in the period immediately after the suspension of gas supplies from Russia to Bulgaria. The period in question was from the end of April 2022 until May of the same year. This was announced at a briefing by Biserka Stoyanova, investigator at the National Security Service and spokesperson for the service.
The displacement is to the former energy minister Alexander Nikolov, his deputy Danail Nikolov and the former director of „Bulgargaz“ Lyudmil Yotsov. According to investigators, the case is particularly grave as Bulgargaz’ operations as a public supplier and the provision of reliable and secure supplies were threatened.
The three have been charged and remanded in custody on petition. Former Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov was summoned for questioning before lunch at the National Investigation Service. On his way out of the investigation he said that he had been charged, but did not comment on what. He said it was a consequence of his refusal to bend to pressure from Gazprom and his conscience was clear. He said:
“The public interest of all citizens has been fully respected in the period December 2021 to 2 August 2022.”
The investigation against the three of them was launched in September 2022 on a tip-off from the SANS and after a review by a prosecutor from the SGO. The pre-trial proceedings are being conducted along two lines – the actions taken by officials from Bulgargaz and the Ministry of Energy. Biserka Stoyanova pointed out:
“When assessing the collected evidence, which is quite large and has been analyzed at a sufficient level, a conclusion can be drawn about the guilt of specific individuals.”