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Monbat CEO resigns amid allegation of illegal trafficking of hazardous lead battery waste

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 11:29 -- paul Crompton

Bulgarian lead-acid battery company Monbat has begun its search for a new CEO after the resignation of Atanas Bobokov to “preserve the stability of the company”.

Bobokov (pictured) made the announcement on 3 June following allegations he had illegally imported and exported waste lead battery products.

A total of 10 people have been charged, including Bobokov’s brother Plamen Bobokov and the country’s deputy environment minister Krassimir Zhivkov, with participating in the illegal import and export of hazardous waste, according to the Bulgarian News Agency (BNA).

Atanas Bobokov was remanded in custody, while Plamen Bobokov was released on 1 million leva ($576,000) bail, states the agency’s report.

The Bobokov brothers and some of the other defendants are accused of running companies which imported waste without having the capacity to process it.

The BNA reported how the investigation started in January when tonnes of garbage from Italy was found to be sitting in various waste storage facilities across the country.

Monbat does not process general waste and does not have such facilities. To secure the volumes for the Bulgarian entity of recycling, Monbat imports raw material from its factory in Italy. This raw material is “paste” and is generated from the technological crushing of the batteries, and is categorized as hazardous material, the transportation of which falls under strict regulation. 

A Monbat statement read: “Monbat is in possession of the necessary notification issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Waters which is a must for the transportation of this “paste”, and it is being transported predominantly with own transport vehicles.  Monbat has never been involved in transportation of refuse and/or trash and trucks, property of Monbat, have never been detained.” 

Following the allegations, Monbat’s board of directors has appointed a second procurator of the company, Dimitar Kostadinov. He is expected to be elected as a new member of the board of directors at an extraordinary general assembly of the company's shareholders next month.

The company has appointed the law firm Wolf Theiss to conduct an independent audit into the matters related to the ecological aspects of the company's activity and compliance with the respective Bulgarian and European legislations.

The Monbat Group is fully operational in all its plants and facilities both domestically and abroad.

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