Instead, they ended up as virtual money machines, after being shipped to an accomplice in East Germany and "bought" back as new for 24 times the original price.A leaked copy of a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office seen by the Sunday Telegraph also accuses the group of committing tax fraud, illegally importing Chinese rabbit meat into the EU with fake health certificates and buying rolling stock from Bulgaria's dilapidated Communist-era railways.
"The former communists that rule Bulgaria are fond of European money, but not European regulations," said Mr Atanasov. I hate to say it as a Bulgarian, but corruption is rife here.
It is not so much under the table, as on the table." Only in July, the European Commission suspended payments of £350 million to Bulgaria, accusing it of mismanagement of European funds through corruption and inefficiency, and failing to prosecute offenders, who are often thought to be shielded through political connections.
Miss Vankova was there as a supporter and voted for Farron.
The ex-MP for Montgomeryshire in Wales said she 'seemed very intelligent' and was impressed she was a qualified lawyer - adding they had 'natural chemistry'.
In one, eight members of what EU anti-fraud investigators describe as a "criminal company network composed of more than 50 Bulgarian enterprises" face trial for allegedly defrauding Sapard of £4 million in a scam involving grants to replace old meat processing equipment.
Rusting and worn after years of churning out stodgy Soviet fare, the old East German-built meat processors should have been destined for the scrap heap.Officially the "Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development", Sapard is the multi-billion pound Brussels fund set up to help former Eastern Bloc countries drag their backward farming sectors into the modern world.But in Bulgaria and neighbouring Romania, farm workers are already proving quick to spot what their colleagues in France, Italy and Spain first noticed 30 years ago - that as with any generous subsidies administered from afar, it is ripe for fraud.The whiff of corruption around Bulgaria's elite grew even stronger last Thursday, when Assen Droumev, the former director of the Bulgarian state agriculture fund, appeared in court on charges that he had misappropriated money from the Sapard fund that he himself was responsible for disbursing.Both Mr Droumev and Mr Nikolov deny any impropriety, claiming they have been made scapegoats so Sofia can persuade Brussels to reinstate its funding.Former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik has been left heartbroken after his ex-girlfriend moved back to Bulgaria with the couple's child.