{"title": "Political Corruption Intact in Bulgaria - Think-Tank","content": "
Bulgaria fails to restrict or punish the spread of corruption practices among government officials, shows a report of a Sofia-based think-tank.The Center for Study of Democracy presented its findings on Monday at the Ninth Annual Anticorruption Policy Forum, a traditional event for anti-corruption initiatives in support of the efforts of civil society and public institutions in corruption combat.The report marks a fall in administrative corruption with the index of corruption in the industrial and private sector cut in half, though far away from the low levels of 2004.US Ambassador to Bulgaria John Beyrle, who attended the forum, underlined that Bulgarians need to see public personalities put on trial.The report only fleshed out his criticism, saying that 143,000 corruption deals were uncovered last year, yet no more than 233 legal proceedings launched and 188 people sentenced.Senior prosecutor Boris Velchev admitted that most dangerous is the corruption in the judicial system. He stressed that people apparently prefer to pay magistrates rather than chase away corruption practices. Last year only two signals for corrupted magistrates were received, he said.The state budget was defrauded of about one billion levas due to corruption practices in public procurements, the report said.