Top Bulgarian politician charged with money laundering

Bulgaria's ex-deputy parliament speaker Hristo Biserov was charged Friday with money laundering.

The veteran politician was also number-two in the Turkish minority MRF party, a key supporter of the government, until he resigned last week, just days before revelations he and his stepson had channelled dirty money to offshore accounts.

Prosecutors said Friday they were charging him with "performing financial operations with money -- 314,529 US dollars and 117,192 euros -- which he knew or presumed was acquired through criminal activity."

Biserov, 57, was also indicted for concealing Swiss bank accounts from Bulgaria's audit office.

Prosecutors revealed last week that Biserov and his stepson Ivaylo Glavinkov had wired large sums between accounts they held in various European countries and transferred some of the money to offshore accounts in the Seychelles.

Glavinkov was also charged with money laundering on Friday.

The two were freed on bail and ordered not to leave the country.

A long-time deputy who served in almost every parliament since the fall of communism in 1989, Biserov could face up to six years in jail if found guilty.

The allegations against him have also fuelled anger against Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's Socialist-backed cabinet, which has faced calls from the street to resign for months.

Bulgaria has repeatedly come under fire for its failure to prosecute corruption.