Bulgarian Justice Minister resigns over real estate deal

epa06590864 The president of the Council of Justice affairs Ministers, Bulgarian Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva, waits for the start of a Council meeting of European Justice and Home affair Ministers, in Brussels, Belgium, 09 March 2018. The ministers - according to the European Council's website - will discuss the so-called non-cash fraud directive, aiming to 'update and adapt existing rules in light of the new challenges and technological evelopments, such as mobile payments and virtual currencies'. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

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Tsetska Tsacheva, the Bulgarian Justice Minister,  resigned on Saturday following media reports that she together with three other politicians from the ruling centre-right GERB party, bought luxurious apartments at below market prices.

Tsacheva has denied any wrongdoing and asked the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the terms on which she had acquired a specious apartment in an upmarket Sofia neighbourhood last year. She told reporters that with the investigations ongoing, it was not appropriate for her to perform her functions as Minister of Justice.

Tsacheva rejected that she had committed an “abuse of office”, adding: “But while the probe lasts I do not want my involvement this case to weigh on the GERB party and the government.”

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov accepted her resignation.

The Anti-Corruption Commission launched a probe on Friday into the properties purchased last year from the same developer.

One of the four politicians, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, leader of GERB’s parliamentary group, has also denied any wrongdoing. But Deputy Sports Minister Vanya Koleva resigned on Saturday over the deals.

The issue came to light earlier this week after the Bulgarian section of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the non-governmental Anti-Corruption Fund published their investigation into the property deals. Their report was picked up by other Bulgarian media outlets.

The reports have outraged many in the poorest European Union member state and Borissov has said that anyone who has breached the laws will have to deal with the consequences.

Via Euronews and the Sofia Globe

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