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Bulgaria: Minister Wants Videnov Tried For Grain Scandal


Sofia, 16 May 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgaria's caretaker Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev said yesterday that Socialist former Prime Minister Zhan Videnov should be put on trial and sentenced for his role in the country's grain crisis.

Our correspondent in Sofia reports that Videnov was questioned for an hour Wednesday by the Bulgarian prosecutor about the export of state grain reserves by several private firms in 1995 and 1996. The firms, which have been closely linked to Videnov, profitted enormously when the Socialist former government allowed them to export large amounts of the reserves. As a result, the state reserves were depleted and the country has since suffered several severe bread shortages.

Videnov's former agriculture minister and three deputies agriculture ministers have been formally charged and questioned in the case.

Bonev, who is expected to retain the Interior Ministry post when a new government is named in Sofia next week, said evidence convinces him that Vidneov is "categorically responsible" for Bulgaria's grain shortages.
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