14 people involved in the Bulgarian fraud received 30,000 euros in damages due to the subsidies case. The Ministry of Finance is currently investigating whether it received compensation incorrectly, outgoing Secretary of State Van Hovelen wrote in a letter to Parliament in response to the report published by De Correspondent newspaper.
In 2013, it was revealed that people in Bulgaria had been “recruited” by criminals to apply for benefits here. The money paid went to the criminals and often the Bulgarians returned to Bulgaria with about 500 euros in their pockets. It is not clear whether applicants for compensation also come from Bulgaria, according to De Correspondent, because citizenship data can no longer be viewed in the tax authorities.
The Treasury responds: “We are currently investigating indications of compensation being awarded to people who are not entitled to it, or who have abused the childcare allowance.” “Foreign Secretary Van Hovelin reportedly told the House of Representatives the first ideas of this research during the debate last Thursday. That debate was canceled due to the coalition agreement controversy and postponed to January.”
Those involved in Bulgarian fraud can receive compensation because the tax authorities have given them the characteristic of “intent / gross negligence”. Because of the allowance issue, a compensation plan was introduced for people who were categorized in this way. The Cabinet promised last December that the affected parents would receive 30,000 euros in compensation.
It is now assumed that everyone has been wrongly accused of “willful/gross negligence”, unless someone has been criminally convicted or sentenced to a criminal fine. But the Bulgarians were never convicted, because they were both perpetrators and victims of the criminals who recruited them.
According to De Correspondent, firing letters are now circulating within tax authorities warning of excessive compensation. “Maybe everyone within the service will agree that the real victims should be compensated generously,” reads a message from the intense monitoring team. “But (…) if this continues, within a few years, the then current Secretary of State may again be responsible for these abuses.”
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