Boyko Borissov, the former prime minister of Bulgaria, was detained late Thursday amid a wide-sweeping police investigation linked to probes by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
According to the interior ministry, former Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, former chair of the parliamentary budgetary commission Menda Stoyanova and Borissov’s media adviser Sevdalina Arnaudova were also detained, Bulgaria’s Dnevnik newspaper reported.
In a move that threatens to be a huge moment of reckoning for Bulgaria, the ministry said that a large-scale operation was underway in connection with 120 cases of potential fraud being investigated by the European Prosecutor’s Office. The prosector herself, Laura Codruța Kövesi, visited Bulgaria in the past days, raising the prospect of action against the widespread abuse of EU funds in sectors such as agriculture, construction and public works — a problem that has plagued Bulgaria for years.
“There is no one above the law,” Prime Minister Kiril Petkov wrote on his Facebook page Thursday.
Borissov’s lawyer Menko Menkov told reporters the former prime minister “has not been charged for the time being. The police have carried out a search at his home. He has been taken to the headquarters of the national police where he most likely will be detained for 24 hours.”
Menkov later said that Borissov’s case related to extortion, rather than to abuse of EU funds.
Borissov, who dominated Bulgaria’s politics for more than a decade, was forced out of power in April last year amid a rule-of-law crisis.