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State Capture Unplugged

For a number of years, CSD’s Corruption Monitoring System has indicated that administrative corruption in Bulgaria shows little signs of abating. The same applies to an even more potent form of corruption – state capture. These two manifestations are closely linked because they represent different facets of the same phenomenon: corruption behavior. Rampant administrative corruption in the country is indicative not only of violations by public officials in their dealings with business and members of the public. Such a situation is exacerbated by high levels of political corruption – that is, high prevalence of corrupt transactions perpetrated by management level public officials and elected politicians. more »

Previous Highlights »

Shadow Economies and Undeclared Work in Europe: New Insights and Policy Response
In recent years the shadow economy, once thought to be a problem only for less economically developed countries, has become recognised a pressing issue for developed economies as well. It acutely affects Bulgaria which is widely recognised as having the largest shadow economy in the European Union. On 2 September 2016 in Sofia, the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) in cooperation with the Sheffield University Management School (UK) and the Institute of Public Finance (Croatia) organised an international Marie Curie conference with the aim to provide a better understanding of the causes and effects of the shadow economy and undeclared work as well as to provide new insights in the field and to identify various policy responses. During the conference, which gathered leading academics, government officials and politicians, it became clear that it is possible to identify and rectify the shadow economy but that is neither an easy nor a simple task. more »

Development and Implementation of Unified Standards for Forced Return Monitoring
The Center for the Study of Democracy and CVS-Bulgaria supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, co-financed by the European Union, launched the initiative Development and Implementation of Unified Standards for Forced Return Monitoring. more »

Tackling Criminal Finances: Anti-Money Laundering in Bulgaria
Money laundering (ML) and other financial crimes are generally linked to different predicate offences by organized crime groups (most often with regards to traffic of narcotics and human beings, prostitution, weapons, computer crimes, etc.). Combating and investigating money laundering thus requires a systematic approach to collection and analysis of financial information for the activities of organized crime groups, as well as broader application and understanding of the legal framework, and substantiation of the existing capacity within the relevant law enforcement structures. Those were part of the overall conclusions during a Round Table, organized by the Center for the Study of Democracy on 14 July 2016. more »

State Capture Unplugged: Countering Administrative and Political Corruption in Bulgaria
The lack of a sustainable anticorruption solution in Bulgaria is indicative of a far more significant problem - the numerous corrupt relations and dependencies involving high-level officials and politicians, known as state capture. This leads to the formation of systemic flaws such as abuse of public procurement mechanisms, hidden economy, VAT and other tax scams, blocking of law enforcement and control institutions, media capture. more »


Corruption pressure and involvement

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"Key public institutions have been captured by private interests," the Sofia-based Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) think-tank said. "Critical sectors of the public administration and the judiciary have become dysfunctional to the extent that nothing short of a drastic shake-up would have any impact". It said the number of corruption cases processed by law enforcement and punished was "negligible compared to the real magnitude of the problem".

Bulgaria losing corruption fight, Agence France-Presse, 4 July 2016

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"The Corruption Assessment Report of the Center for the Study of Democracy focuses on the strongest form of corruption in Bulgaria – state capture. For several years in a row it ascertains that the unacceptable has occurred - administrative corruption has given way to a system of corrupt relations that allows long-term privileged access to public resources for the same figures."

Mr. Rosen Plevneliev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria during the Twelfth Anti-Corruption Policy Forum: State Capture Unplugged: Countering Administrative and Political Corruption in Bulgaria, 4 July 2016

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