{"title": "Survey identifies main sources of corruption in Bulgaria","content": "
The administration, import and customs are the main breeding ground for the gray and the black economy, according to a survey of the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD), Director Ognyan Shentov said. He opened a roundtable titled 'The Economy of Crime and Anticorruption Reforms' on Tuesday [27 May].The gray and the black economy is dwindling, according to the centre's findings, though it is still early days to say if this is a steady trend, Shentov said. He cited international analysts as saying that the gray and the black economy amounts to 5-6bn euros, between 30 and 36 per cent of the GDP.The gray economy is made up of activities which are not prohibited by law, yet they do not comply with the established rules and requirements, the CSD found. The black economy involves activities that are prohibited and punishable by law and are not declared to the authorities as required.Shentov noted as a positive change the fact that the potential buyers in recent privatization deals in Bulgaria were outside the world's gray economy. At the same time, the progress of the deals for telecom operator BTC [Bulgarian Telecommunications Company] and Bulgartabac made people believe there was something wrong with them, and only a thorough commitment to transparency can lead to success, Shentov said.Deputy Prime Minister Nikolay Vasilev told journalists he had not been alerted to any instances of corruption at the Privatization Agency.Vasilev said at the opening of the conference that the government is making a serious effort to reduce the gray economy, and listed the four main components of the fight against corruption: placing people resolved to fight the gray economy where they are needed; making laws to eliminate corruption; reducing state intervention in the economy; and reforming customs.Financial Intelligence Agency Director Vasil Kirov said that financial resources, organized crime and corruption are the closely interwoven components of the gray economy. To stem the gray economy, the financial resources of organized crime must be confiscated, which is very difficult, Kirov said. Property can be confiscated after sentencing, but such cases take years. During that period the criminals can transfer the property to relatives or proxies. That is why the law should be changed to make it possible to condemn the accused persons' assets.