Bulgarian Officials Arrested for Soliciting Bitcoin Bribes: Report

Francisco Memoria

Two Bulgarian officials have reportedly been arrested for receiving bribes in bitcoin to issue passports to foreign individuals. The officials were the ones that solicited the bribes and would penalize those who didn’t pay.

According to local news outlet NOVA, court documents show the two accused officials had management positions at the National Agency for Bulgarian Citizens Abroad. They reportedly received between 5 and 15 bribes per week, since “at least” July of 2017.

The report, first spotted by The Next Web, details that when people refused to pay the bribe, the officials would severely delay the issuance of their documents, making it nearly impossible for applicants to receive their documents when they needed them.

The officials’ defense attorney reportedly noted that there’s no evidence connecting them to the illegitimately issued documents, and that there’s also no evidence pointing out they’ve received BTC payments.

The prosecution responded, however, that authorities have confiscated bitcoin wallets.

Authorities have confiscated Bitcoin wallets, which prove that some of the bribe money has been converted to cryptocurrency

Per the prosecution, an unnamed individual saw his request for documents be denied initially, but received them as soon as he paid up a bribe in the flagship cryptocurrency. Moreover, a witness who reportedly served as a deputy director in the National Agency claims to have been aware of the scheme.

The officials were requesting bribes that could be of €5,000 for the documents, according to a witness who claims to have paid them at least twice. While this is seemingly the first time government officials in Bulgaria accepted bitcoin bribes, it isn’t the first time government officials have gotten in trouble to get BTC.

Back in 2014, the US government banned a professor for using a supercomputer to mine bitcoin. Notably,  earlier this year Russian nuclear scientists were arrested for using powerful machines to mine the flagship cryptocurrency as well.