The Ministry of Transport and Information Technology has published a list of carriers that received EU subsidies to deal with the consequences of COVID-19 under the Operational Programme “Innovation and Competitiveness”. The list is a PDF file with 208 legal entities and does not contain the UIC of the companies, which makes its automated processing difficult. And there seems to be a reason why. Among the 4 companies that received the maximum subsidy of 450 thousand leva is the company of the long-time municipal councilor of GERB in Veliko Tarnovo – Alexander Nankov. In the list his company “Alex O’K” is probably accidentally misspelled – the letter O has become the number 0.
Alexander Nankov was also elected in the local elections in 2019, but gave up his mandate as a municipal councillor of GERB in Veliko Tarnovo. Over the years, his company has won contracts for public procurement for over BGN 1.3 million and supplies for European projects for BGN 94 860 – the information system of the BRRD reveals. The latest aid of 450 000 BGN is added to the 285 632 BGN already received under the programmes to help companies affected by the pandemic, which our website monitors and completes from available public data.
The BRRD has so far processed data on more than 1.2 billion leva of aid to tackle the coronary crisis. The results are presented in a search engine that can be searched by company name, company UIC, assistance program, company activity, owners and other criteria.
Corruption Cyrillic or Latin
The names of hundreds of entities in the transparency systems for the use of EU funds and in the database of the Public Procurement Agency are listed with such convenient “mistakes”. The phenomenon is known as “corruption Cyrillic” or “corruption Latin”. In it, the letter O becomes zero, and graphically matching letters between the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets are written in Latin: A, E, C, K, P, M, H become A, E, C, K, P, M, H.
The method is widely used in Russia and was announced in a publication by opposition leader Alexei Navalny back in 2013. It also allows to hide a public procurement and target a pre-selected company. This is done by entering an advertisement containing Latin letters into the system. The “right” company learns about the ad because it is informed how to search the system with the replaced letters. And the “wrong” ones either don’t learn or are fatally late in filing and lose out.
Following Navalny’s revelations, the investigative website Bellingcat published instructions and programs to fight corruption. The installation and use of these programs is not within the power of the general public, but investigative journalists use them frequently in their work.
Coincidences or system?
The same corruption specialty is used in Kyrgyzstan, another country using the Cyrillic alphabet, as the investigative website Akchabar has found. It reveals dozens of state tenders disguised in this way. Asked for comment, Kyrgyz senior officials explained that it was a case of typing errors.
This explanation is very convenient, but when there is a system of identification of companies by a unique numerical code, as in Bulgaria, it does not hold. The companies’ UIC is public information that is printed on every invoice and receipt. “Accidental” errors in the lists are easily corrected by entering (and publishing) the company’s UIC. This allows you to quickly check the correct spelling of the name on the website of the Registry Agency or in one of the reference systems to which the state administration has subscriptions.
In the case of the DOT list, this was not done. Beneficiary companies of the aid are not even entered in the ISUN system.
The Bulgarian contribution in the field of the corrupt use of our alphabet was also manifested earlier in the lists of the SFA with the notorious guesthouses financed with EU funds. They did not even have the names of the companies in them at first, only the locations of the houses. Subsequently, the names appeared, but without the UIC and with many errors of the corruption Cyrillic type. Clearing these lists and revealing the owners of the houses took months of investigative journalists, but it proved to be a worthwhile effort. Many beneficiaries linked to the government have been revealed. The SFA apparently aimed to make these disclosures more difficult through the incomplete and erroneous lists it published while Rumen Porozhanov was director there.
Another example of a corrupt Cyrillic alphabet was detected in Bivol’s investigation into the “Kumgate” scandal. The central role was played by the Hakovo company Eco Tradex Group, but it was listed in the ISUN 2020 system with a Latin initial E. In practice, this hid it from internet search engines. After Bivol’s publication, the name of this company was corrected, but there are dozens and hundreds of others whose names have the Latin letters Е, О, C, А etc. (check by clicking on the letters) Among them is the favorite of the government “GP Group” AD, as the A in AD is in Latin.
Щом сте стигнали дотук, вероятно вече си задавате въпроса как се финансира този журналистически проект.
От създаването си BIRD се финансираше от подаяния в нашето журналистическо чекмедже.
Но на чекмеджето му мина времето. Даже прокуратурата затвори онова Чекмедже, знаете кое…
Нашето финансиране влиза в крак с епохата. Фондонабиращата ни кампания вече се казва
Дарявай за BIRD и мятай павета в блатото с корумпирани политици и други тарикати.
Те тайно премятат пари от твоя джоб в своя. Те размятат безнаказано лукса си пред очите на всички. Няма кой да ги накаже ако се надяваш на държавата.
Мятай, за да ги накажеш ти. Да дариш за разследващите журналисти е гаранция, че гадостите, с които силните на деня те замерят, ще им се върнат.
Можеш да метнеш веднъж, за да ти олекне!
Но по-добре е да мяташ редовно всеки месец и да се чувстваш трайно удовлетворен.
А най-добре е да доведеш приятели и да мятаме редовно заедно в екип. С мощен залп!
*За кръстник на новата ни фондонабираща кампания избрахме другарката Ваня. Благодарим й за вдъхновението!
До момента имаме 411 активни редовни дарители, които осигуряват 5697.34 € месечно. Нашата цел е те да станат 1,000.
Събери се с приятели и мятайте заедно с BIRD. Лесно е.
1. Регистрирай се 2. Създай отбор 3. Създай свой профил 4. Покани приятели
Или се включи в някой отбор:
Lightning network: firstname.lastname@example.org
This post is also available in: Български (Bulgarian)