From November 2014 to May 2017, he was appointed Deputy Executive Director of State Fund Agriculture - Paying Agency, responsible for Operational Programme Fisheries and Aquaculture and SAPARD
aOLAFas investigators subsequently extended their investigation to cover another eight companies that received Sapard
funding and that were linked to each other.
In March, Sofia City Court found him guilty of laundering funds siphoned from Sapard
and sentenced him to 10 years in jail, while handing his wife Mariana Nikolova an eightyear sentence.
As a result, on July 28 the EC sent a mission of experts to check on the State Agriculture Fund which manages Sapard
To support the need for a European Prosecutor's Office he pointed as example the failures of the Bulgarian judiciary in the notorious SAPARD
case of misuse of EU funds, while German nationals, participants in the same fraud, have been convicted in Germany.
Another reason was the fact that the EC had frozen 140 million euro of funding to Bulgaria in 2008 under its Sapard
programme, which is managed by the Agriculture Fund.
The European Commission adopted, on 2 December, a decision allowing Bulgaria and Romania to extend the deadline for payments of SAPARD
(Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development) funds by one year, from 31 December 2008 to 31 December 2009.
Like PHARE and SAPARD
, ISPA is one of the three Community instruments for providing financial assistance to the 10 Central and East European countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia).
State Fund "Agriculture" is seen as very important in Bulgaria as it deals with payments from the EU SAPARD
At stake is aid from three instruments: the ISPA road-building agency (115 million), the PHARE technical assistance programme (250 million) and the SAPARD
agricultural programme (121 million).
+Fraudster+Fully+Cleared" target="_blank">Mario Nikolov, who was acquitted of large-scale SAPARD
fraud, while "his German ally was sentenced to 3.
5 million euro from the Union's SAPARD