magnitsky-act 03 June 2021

OFAC takes GLOMAG to Bulgarian corruption

The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (‘OFAC’) has used the Global Magnitsky Act to attack corruption in Bulgaria, sanctioning ‘three Bulgarian individuals for their extensive roles in corruption in Bulgaria, as well as their networks encompassing 64 entities.’

‘The United States stands with all Bulgarians who strive to root out corruption by promoting accountability for corrupt officials who undermine the economic functions and democratic institutions of Bulgaria. Not only does corruption deprive citizens of resources, it can erode the institutions intended to protect them.  This designation under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program shows that we are committed to combatting corruption wherever it may be,’ said OFAC Director, Andrea M. Gacki. 

The action targets:

  • Vassil Kroumov Bojkov, a prominent Bulgarian businessman and oligarch 
  • Delyan Slavchev Peevski, a former member of parliament
  • Ilko Dimitrov Zhelyazkov, the former Deputy Chief of the Bulgarian State Agency for Technical Operations who was appointed to the National Bureau for Control on Special Intelligence-Gathering Devices

as well as more than 60 companies owned or controlled by them.

Several commentators have noted that the OFAC action contrasts with the European Union’s apparent indifference to corruption in (EU member state) Bulgaria. Writing for Carnegie Europe, following Bulgaria’s April elections, Senior Fellow Judith Dempsey said,

‘Bulgarians are fed up with their country’s corruption. They are also disappointed with the EU’s failure to apply pressure on [then prime minister Boiko Borisov]…If the EU is ever surprised by Euroskepticism or disappointment with the EU, don’t always blame populists. Blame the EU’s lack of backbone in speaking out against corruption and degradation of the rule of law and media freedom, which are now increasingly common in several member states. Anticorruption campaigners and those trying to protect the rule of law have often looked in vain to the EU to defend the values that are supposed to characterize the bloc.’