May 24. 2024. 6:41

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Bulgaria to extradite top ex-magistrate to Austria over money laundering


Bulgaria will extradite Ivan Dimov, a former member of the Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council, to Austria as he is wanted for laundering €170,000, the Court of Appeal in Plovdiv decided on Tuesday.

In January, the prosecutor’s office in Wels, Austria, issued a European Arrest Warrant against Dimov for having allegedly transferred €170,800 he received from Austrian bank accounts to various Bulgarian ones between 14 March to 10 May 2022.

In its decision, the Court of Appeals found the European Arrest Warrant issued by Austria to be in accordance with the law and that no criminal proceedings had yet been initiated in Bulgaria against Dimov for the same crime.

By contrast, the investigation launched in Austria shows that the Austrian judicial authorities have a considerable amount of information, including about the activities of many foreign citizens, the court decided.

Austria has also guaranteed that Dimov will be returned to Bulgaria to serve a possible prison sentence imposed on him.

The case will become emblematic of the criminal repression of Austria over a Bulgarian lawyer, said Dimov about the case against him.

“Austria is one country that has not parted with the remnants of its fascist past,” according to Dimov. His defence even claims he was “chosen” because Austria vetoed Bulgaria’s Schengen accession.

Dimov is currently the chairman of the International Court of Arbitration at the Association “Alliance for Legal Interaction”. In addition to being a member of the Supreme Judicial Council from 2007 to 2010, he was a military judge, a member of parliament (1997-2001) and the president of the District Court in Sliven.

As a member of the Supreme Judicial Council, Dimov was involved in a lobbyist scandal that forced him to leave. He later returned to work at the District Court in Sliven but was ultimately dismissed on disciplinary grounds because of the scandal.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)