WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department on Friday announced sanctions on five current and former Bulgarian officials, as well as five entities accused of illicit personal gain, undermining the country’s democratic institutions and perpetuating “corrosive dependence on Russian energy sources.”

Brian Nelson, treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the U.S. “supports our NATO ally Bulgaria in its fight against both entrenched corruption and Russian influence, which undermine democratic institutions.”

“Corruption robs the Bulgarian people of hundreds of millions of dollars and hinders investment and economic growth in the country,” he said.

Those sanctioned include Rumen Stoyanov Ovcharov, a Bulgarian member of parliament; Vladislav Ivanov Goranov, a former Bulgarian politician; Aleksandar Hristov Nikolov, a former CEO and deputy director of Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, Bulgaria’s sole nuclear power plant owned by the government, and Ivan Kirov Genov, a former CEO of KNPP and former Bulgarian politician.

In addition, the State Department also imposed visa restrictions on Ovcharov, Nikolov and Goranov for involvement in significant corruption, which will impact their immediate family members making them ineligible for entry into the United States.

The Biden administration relies on sanctions authority from a Donald Trump-era executive order that implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act that “targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.”


Associated Press Diplomatic writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.