SOFIA, September 11. /TASS/. Bulgaria has banned Russian entrepreneur Konstantin Malofeev from entering the country in relation to the case against Nikolai Malinov, chairman of the National Movement of Russophiles active in Bulgaria, the republic’s chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov told Bulgarian MPs on Wednesday. Malofeev serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Tsargrad TV company.
"In accordance with the law on foreign citizens, on Tuesday, we have informed of banning Russian citizen Leonid Reshetnikov <…> from entering Bulgaria for 10 years. Today, the same measure has been introduced against another individual, namely Konstantin Malofeev," Tsatsarov said.
On Tuesday, the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security banned former head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Leonid Reshetnikov from entering Bulgaria for 10 years. Since 2017, Malofeev has served as chairman of the "Double-Headed Eagle" society, while Reshetnikov initiated the creation of this public organization in November 2016.
According to the Bulgarian prosecution, Reshetnikov and Malofeev financed the projects implemented by Malinov in Bulgaria via the "Double-Headed Eagle" and RISS.
During a briefing on Tuesday, Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov accused Nikolai Malinov of espionage. According to Tsatsarov, Malinov has been gathering data on Bulgarian foreign policy, along with other information, in the interest of the "Double-Headed Eagle" society and the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS). He added that Malinov had been released from custody on 50,000-lev bail (over $28,000) and issued a travel ban.
According to deputy prosecutor Ivan Geshev, Malinov’s efforts were allegedly aimed to support non-governmental organizations and create websites and a TV channel that would be used to exercise political influence. "His goal was to influence the political life 'not visibly' but in a hidden manner," Geshev stated.
Earlier on Wednesday, the head of "Russophiles" expressed his shock over the accusations. "The term 'spy' is very offensive to me. I am simply shocked by people calling me a spy for communicating with Russian partners," he said.
Malinov confirmed that he was planning to establish a news channel, along with children’s and music channels. He also planned to create a political party. Malinov added that he did not consider his actions to be in violation of the Bulgarian law or a threat to national security.