Bulgarian MEP says she ‘feels threatened’ by tape recording

Elena Yoncheva speaks from the European Parliament to bTV, on 22 June 2020.

Bulgarian MEP Elena Yoncheva said on Monday (22 June) that she fears for her safety after a leaked recording was published in which a voice resembling that of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov threatens to have her “burnt”.

The authenticity of the tape and the recordings has not been established.

Borissov has immediately dismissed what he said were attacks against him, saying that his enemies have a different geopolitical agenda for Bulgaria. He also mentioned there was an “impersonator” who is very good at imitating his voice but did not elaborate.

Borissov fends off ‘kompromats’, says will sleep with a gun

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.

The voice recording, leaked on 12 June, contains a phrase in which a voice resembling Borissov’s says he does not care if his own people get burnt, as long as “Elena Yoncheva gets burnt”.

The recording has purportedly been made in April 2019, before the EU elections which Borissov’s GERB party won.

The background appears to be a scandal in which influential Bulgarians were found to be the owners of “guest houses” built with EU money. Many of them were found to use the houses as private residences, and not as hostels as intended by the European Program.

Bulgaria’s Borissov wins despite scandals

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s GERB party (EPP-affiliated) won the European elections on Sunday (26 May), despite a number of scandals in which it was involved in recent months.

Borissov has fired many of his own party officials over the guest house scandal. The name of Yoncheva was also mentioned in the scandal, as her father-in-law was also the beneficiary of the EU program for “guest houses”. Yoncheva says he has been checked several times and no wrongdoing was found.

Speaking to the bTV channel on Monday from the studios of the European Parliament in Brussels, Yoncheva said she feared for her safety although the authenticity of the recording has not been verified.

Asked by the TV anchor if she was afraid to return to Bulgaria, Yoncheva answered:

“If you heard a similar order against yourself, wouldn’t you be afraid?”

Yoncheva said she did not expect Bulgarian prosecutors to check the authenticity of the tape and added that several media groups had indicated that they had the technology to check the tapes’ authenticity and that she was ready to support them.

Yoncheva is a former journalist who gained fame from reporting from war zones. She is a former partner to Sergei Stanishev, who is now the leader of the Party of European Socialists.

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