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Bulgaria: Leading Bankers Arrested

Sofia, 9 April 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgaria's Interior Ministry today announced the arrest of three top bankers for allegedly granting bad loans totalling some 100,000 million leva ($65 million). Another three bankers were put under police surveillance and made to post bail.

Chief Prosecutor Ivan Tatartchev promised more details tomorrow. Our Sofia correspondent says all six bankers were on the board of directors of Mineral Bank, which declared bankruptcy last year.

One of those made to post bail is the former Deputy Governor of Bulgaria's Central Bank, Emil Harsev. Harsev is among the most prominent people in the Bulgarian banking world and is known as a leading opponent of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) involvement in the country.

Harsev told RFE/RL by telephone that the prosectors' decision was a politically motivated move before the April 19 elections and he rejected any accusations of mismanagement.