Pro-Russian Bulgarian businessman and politician sentenced to prison – EURACTIV.com

Businessman and leader of the pro-Russian populist Volya party, Veselin Mareshki, has been sentenced to four years in prison for an eight-year-old extortion case. The sentence is not final and can be appealed to the Supreme Court.

If Mareshki is ultimately convicted, he will become the highest-ranking Bulgarian politician to receive a prison sentence.

Two years ago, Mareshki rose to prominence as the contact person in Sofia for far-right French leader Marine Le Pen. She even came to the Bulgarian capital to support Mareshki in the European elections.

Volya served in the Bulgarian parliament until April 2021, but then fell short of the 4% election mark on three occasions, while support for the party fell below 1%. In parliament, the Volya party was a key ally of the then-ruling GERB-United Patriots coalition, although it ostensibly tried to appear independent.

In early 2019, Veselin Mareshki strongly defended the continuation of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline through Bulgarian territory, arguing that Bulgaria should not allow third countries to destroy its good relations with Russia in reference to the threat of the United States of to impose sanctions for the construction of the pipeline.

Two years ago, the Varna Court of Appeal again sentenced Mareshki to four years in prison in the same case, but the Supreme Court overturned it due to errors. Now the sentence is the same and the Supreme Court should rule again.

In 2021, Mareshki said he felt repressed in Bulgaria, saying “I’m in the same position as Navalny. I am a politician who was attacked for his political opinions.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)

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