Bulgarian Officials Detained For Selling Passports In Return For Bitcoin
Regulators in Bulgaria have cracked down on the illegal offering of international passports to residents of certain East European countries in return for Bitcoin. Residents of Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, as well as Macedonia have been supposedly active in the execution of such illegal actions.
Those who were detained by the Prosecutor’s General Office include Philip Haralampiev of Bulgarian State Agency for Bulgarians’ matters abroad, Krasimir Tomov, General Secretary, and Mark Stoyov, member of the actual agency.
Proving the apprehension of these authorities, the Chief Prosecutor of the Condition Ivan Geshev stated:
“Peter Haralampiev, Krasimir Tomov, and Mark Stoyov have been arrested for fraud with the issuance of Bulgarian passports to Ukrainian, Moldovan and Macedonian citizens.”
As the legal advisors of the charged officials have dismissed claims of their own clients’ association in the receipt of unauthorized payments, the particular Prosecutor General asserts they have documents to prove the mechanism was aided with a crypto currency as the means of payment.
The scandal has placed the government in a bad lighting but the Vice Prime Minister of Bulgaria Valeri Simeonov argues that he has no intention to resign despite the level of corruption in the organization.
Apart from the participation of government representatives in this act, which is liable to be punished by the law, 20 people were recently jailed within Bulgaria for selling the country’s passport to eager citizens of Ukraine, Moldova, and Macedonia. The suspects supposedly received close to $5-6 thousand for a single passport.
Bulgaria became a European Union (EU) Member in 2007. The EU passport allows citizens of other EU Member States with little or no restrictions to travel and live within EU territories. Many illegal immigrants who want papers to enter EU countries use the sale of forged passports. In 2016, Europol tackled an underground union in Greece with a branch in the Czech Republic.
Five of its operators were Ukrainians and other group leaders were Sudanese and Bangladeshi citizens. These criminals specialized in the sale of fake Schengen visas, driver’s licenses and residence permits. The fee for obtaining forged documents depends on the individual’s region. Immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia could get their passports between GBP 3,000 and GBP 3,500, while Europeans could pay up to GBP 8,000.