Bulgaria on Monday said it had banned imports from Russia, citing reports of corruption and bribery in its state-run media.
Bulgaria’s President Serge Iakovov announced the ban at a news conference in the capital, Sofia.
Russia banned the Bulgarian company Bulgari in 2015 after it reported that the country’s state-owned newspaper was owned by a company that received tens of millions of dollars in foreign donations.
The company has said that its main source of income is from the sale of jewelry, and has denied that it receives money from any foreign entity.
Bulgarian officials say the ban was prompted by an investigation into alleged bribery of a senior official at the Bulgarian state-controlled bank, the Sofia Bank.
Bulgaia has said the investigation was initiated by Bulgarian police, who arrested five people in February and later extradited them to Russia.
Bulgasia’s foreign minister, Vassil Vukic, told reporters Monday that the ban had nothing to do with money, adding that it was an economic matter and not related to corruption.
He said the decision had been made after consultations with international organizations.
Bulgartas state-based press reported that three Russian businessmen, including a former chief executive, had been arrested and would appear in court later in the day.
Bulgeria, the world’s top producer of Bulgars, said it would also suspend purchases of all Bulgari products and stop importing them, the Bulgarian news agency ANA reported.
Bulgars government says it is investigating the bribery allegations against three officials, but has not released their names.