Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov called an extraordinary meeting of his GERB party (EPP-affiliated) on Wednesday (17 June) to refute a leaked recording and photos suggesting heavy-handed brinkmanship and corruption.
A week ago, an anonymous email sender made available to the media a recording in which a voice similar to Borissov’s makes cynical comments with respect to another politician, admits harassing a business company, mentions the name of an MEP in what appears to be a threat, and makes fun of prime ministers of some EU countries. The recording appears to have been made in April 2018.
On Wednesday a new ‘kompromat’ was made available, with a photo of Borissov sleeping in his bedroom in the official state residence in Boyana with a handgun on his nightstand, and other photos showing drawers full of bundles of 500-euro notes and a few gold ingots, in what appears to be the same bedroom.
“I have a handgun and I don’t part with it. From today, I will sleep with the gun,” Borissov said a few hours after the photos appeared on some websites and in social media.
The prime minister said that the money was brought in for the photos, or the images were doctored.
Borissov did not dispute the veracity of the photo of him sleeping in the state residence. But he said everything else was a set-up staged by his political opponents.
“Yes, I’m worried. When I sleep, I am defenceless. Will I stay there at all (in Boyana residence)? Any man needs his personal space. How come I am photographed when I’m sleeping? What if I snore? Is this freedom, democracy?” an angry Borissov asked, calling for a prosecutor’s investigation.
In the meantime, the prosecution opened an investigation into the leaked recording, but investigating only whether it is manipulation and not its content.
“The KGB textbooks say that when you create compromising material (kompromat), it must be such that it inspires disgust […] All that was missing was a little boy next to me,” Borissov said, apparently hinting that his political foes could as well accuse him of paedophilia.
Asked who was behind the kompromats, Borissov named his former number two in the GERB party, Tzvetan Tzvetanov, the country’s president, Rumen Radev, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, and the leaders of two new political forces – Maya Manolova, the former national ombudsman, and TV showman Slavi Trifonov.
Bulgarian PM Borissov suggests that his former N. 2 Tzvetan Tzvetanov is behind "kompromat" photos of his bedroom with drawers stuffed with bundles of 500-euro notes published today. pic.twitter.com/mNxx1dKfQk
— Georgi Gotev & EURACTIV.bg (@GeorgiGotev) June 17, 2020
He also said that Radev, who lives in a neighbouring villa in the Boyana residence, spies on him using a drone offered to him by China.
The press event – surreal even by Bulgarian standards – coincided with the official departure of Tzvetanov from GERB, who said this force had become a hub of “fear, intrigue and mediocrity”.
Borissov also feels the pressure from two oligarchs with whom he is in conflict and who are hiding from justice abroad – former banker Tzvetan Vassilev in Serbia, and former lottery tsar Vassil Bozhkov in the United Arab Emirates. Bozhkov in particular has been tireless in posting accusations of Borissov’s corruption on Facebook on an almost daily basis.
Borissov said the attacks against him were inspired from abroad, alluding that they profit Russia. He said the reason for these attacks was that there were upcoming “geopolitical” decisions in July, and that this made his detractors nervous. He did not elaborate.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]