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(DF) Specialized Prosecution Office to Finish Check against Continue the Change Co-leader Petkov by Dec.15

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November 29 (BTA) – The deadline for the Specialized Prosecution Office’s (SPO) check against Continue the Change co-leader and former caretaker minister Kiril Petkov over his citizenship has been extended and it will now finish by December 15, SPO Spokesperson Hristo Krustev told BTA on Monday. Afterwards, the observing prosecutor will assess whether there is sufficient data for a committed crime, he added.

Also on Monday, the Counter-corruption and Unlawfully Acquired Assets Forfeiture Commission submitted to the SPO certified copies of Petkov’s declarations on property and on lack of conflict of interest lodged by him as caretaker economy minister. The Commission received a request for the documents on November 23.

Kiril Petkov served as caretaker economy minister from May 10 to September 16, 2021. He now co-heads the Continue the Change coalition, the largest group in Bulgaria’s Parliament and the formation currently holding talks on cabinet formation.

The Specialized Prosecution Office has been checking Petkov since August 24 in connection with an alleged false statement made by him in a declaration before his appointment as caretaker economy minister. The SPO was alerted by a member of the public about an alleged criminal offence committed by Petkov, referring to an item in the Trud daily of August 22. The article in question argued that, in addition to misdeclaring his citizenship status, Petkov broke other laws as well, including the replacement of the executive director of the Bulgarian Development Bank.

The Constitutional Court, too, examined the case of Petkov’s citizenship after 55 MPs of GERB in the previous parliament challenged the constitutionality of the decree by which President Rumen Radev appointed him to the caretaker cabinet on May 10. The MPs argued that by that date Petkov still held Canadian citizenship, which made him incompatible for the office that requires Bulgarian citizenship only.

Petkov submitted to the Constitutional Court a certificate showing that he ceased to be a citizen of Canada on August 20, 2021 but claimed that his application to renounce that citizenship, dated April 21, 2021, sufficed as evidence that his dual nationality had lapsed by the date of this appointment.

In its decision of October 27, the Constitutional Court found Radev’s decree unconstitutional in the part where Petkov was appointed caretaker minister, as Petkov ceased to be a Canadian citizen after the date of his appointment.

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