SAPARDSpecial Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (European Commission)
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aAuthorities in Bulgaria sent information on two companies to OLAF, both beneficiaries of aSpecial accession programme for agriculture and rural developmenta (SAPARD) funding.
SAPARD devoted 682 mln [euro] to complement direct payments and 140 mln [euro] to finance the actions of the programme.
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 funds.
One of the reasons for Yahova's dismissal was the European Commission's decision to freeze 140 million euro of funding to Bulgaria in 2008 under its Sapard programme, which is managed by the SFA.
The European Commission has recently approved an amendment to the financing rules for the SAPARD pre-accession rural development scheme for the EU candidate countries, to extend the deadlines for using budget commitments.
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.
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).
The sectors he was to be in charge of a "SAPARD" and "Fisheries and Aquaculture" will be temporarily managed by another Deputy Director of the Fund, Atidzhe Alieva a Veli.
The group, controlled by Mario Nikolov and Lyudmil Stoikov and comprising over 50 Bulgarian, European and off-shore companies, is blamed for embezzling at least 7.5 million euro from the Union's SAPARD pre-accession programme.