Bulgarian prosecutor’s office refused to investigate its chief

The replacement of Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev is one of the main goals of the currently emerging new governing coalition in Bulgaria, which consists of four parties. [Nadejda Chipeva, Capital]

The specialised prosecutor’s office refused to launch a criminal prosecution against Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev for publicly leaking information from wiretapping used to attack political opponents. Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov made the request to launch a formal investigation against Geshev.

On 28 January 2020, the prosecutor’s office published a wiretapped conversation between President Rumen Radev and the commander of the Bulgarian Air Force, Gen. Tsanko Stoykov.

Two months earlier, the president announced that the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office should be reformed and criticized the chief prosecutor. In the midst of large-scale protests against then-Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Ivan Geshev in 2020, the prosecution also published wiretapped conversations between a critical journalist, an opposition MP, and businessman Vasil Bozhkov.

Finally, the prosecutor’s office published selected moments from the communication between presidential secretary Plamen Uzunov and businessman Plamen Bobokov, who has a criminal case pending against him.

Boyko Rashkov claims that the purpose of publishing these talks is to hurt the president and the protests. The misuse of data from wiretapped conversations is a crime in Bulgaria, punishable by one to five years in prison. The chief prosecutor claims that the information was used legally with the permission of his subordinate prosecutors.

On Monday, dissatisfaction with the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office was also expressed by EU chief prosecutor Laura Koveshi. During an online meeting with Bulgarian Justice Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev, she said that initially, the European Prosecutor’s Office received only “small cases” from its fellow prosecutors in Bulgaria. She stressed that there were difficulties in communicating with the Bulgarian authorities.

“In general, I can say that our cooperation with Bulgaria is very good, in the beginning, we had a certain problem that all cases had to be channelled only through the prosecutor’s office and in the beginning, we received only small cases,” Koveshi said, quoted by the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice.

The replacement of Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev is one of the main goals of the currently emerging new governing coalition in Bulgaria, which consists of four parties.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)

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