The founder of the Yota company, Sergei Adoniev, was deprived of his Bulgarian citizenship, according to Reuters, citing the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice. The ministry notes that in the future Bulgaria plans to stop issuing citizenship for investments. Adonyev, who received a Bulgarian passport in 2008, was deprived of his citizenship back in May, after the Bulgarian authorities received a notice of a criminal case, which Adonyev was involved in in the United States 20 years ago.
This is the episode of 1998, when Adonyev spent 30 months in an American prison. He got on the Interpol wanted list as far back as 1995, at the suit of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Kazakhstan, who suspected Adonyev of giving a bribe to top officials of the country for a positive decision on the supply of 25,000 tons of Cuban sugar. The charges in this case against Adoniev were eventually dropped, but the businessman did end up in prison - the US authorities discovered that Adonev’s registered company in the US, MCW Enterprises, was violating the trade ban imposed on Cuba in 1960. In addition to violating the embargo, Adonyev was accused of money laundering and fraud using electronic means of communication. Then he pleaded guilty to the charges, but denied giving the bribe to officials. In addition to 30 months in prison, a court in the United States ordered a businessman to pay a $ 4 million fine.
Adonev and his business partner Alber Avdolyan own Telconet Capital, with 34.9% of which is Yota Devices, a mobile device manufacturer. Adonyev is the founder of the mobile operator Scartel (the Yota brand, now owned by Megafon). Last year, Adonyev was noted for being one of the sponsors of the presidential campaign of Ksenia Sobchak.
In order to obtain Bulgarian citizenship for investments, you need to invest around € 1 million in government bonds. Bulgarian “golden passports” are quite popular among Russians - as calculated by the Bulgarian non-governmental organization “Anti-Corruption Fund”, for 10 years Bulgaria issued 225 passports for investments, 125 of them are for Russians. The Bulgarian Citizenship for Investment Program has been criticized by the European Commission. As Reuters reported, citing the report, the Bulgarian authorities, as well as the authorities of Malta and Cyprus, do not thoroughly check the sources of origin of the state of investors.