Mayor of Bulgaria's Sliven Kicked Out of OfficeCrime | April 21, 2010, Wednesday // 17:40| views
The allegedly corrupt mayor of Sliven Yordan Lechkov poses for the journalists before hearing the Court's decision to remove him from power. Photo by BGNES
The District Court in the Bulgarian city of Sliven removed Yordan Lechkov from the post of city's mayor on Wednesday over alleged abuse of power.
Despite Lechkov’s desire that journalists be admitted to the court’s hearing, the Sliven District Court convened behind closed doors.
Lechkov commented on the verdict by saying that he intends to stay mayor of the city of Sliven and keep up with his responsibilities until proven guilty of the charges raised against him.
Last week the Prosecutor’s Office raised seven charges against the mayor of Sliven and 1994 World Cup hero Yordan Lechkov.
Sliven District Prosecutor, Plamen Stefanov, revealed that one of the charges involved the sale of the flea market in the City which did not respect the decision of the municipal council.
Other charges include the allegation that Lechkov put pressure on the local National Revenues Agency office to cover up tax audits of certain local companies.
The prosecution asked for Lechkov’s removal, fearing that as acting mayor he may influence the investigation.
The lawyers of the ousted mayor of Sliven announced on Wednesday that they would appeal the court’s decision and demanded that a new judge and jury be appointed on the case. That demand, however, was overthrown.
Lechkov, who was a key member of the Bulgaria squad that finished fourth at the 1994 World Cup in the United States and is currently vice president of Bulgaria's football federation, has repeatedly said that the charges aim his removal from office. He has made it clear however that he has no intention to resign.
Lechkov has been in the spotlight recently, with Sliven citizens organizing a petition for his removal over alleged corrupt practices.
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