Ex Bulgarian Defense Minister Faces Court Martial

Crime | May 17, 2010, Monday // 15:03|  views

Former Bulgarian Defense Minister Minister, Nikolay Tsonev, appeared Monday for his trial at the Sofia City Court over charges of abuse of power he committed during his term. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Prosecutor's Office filed Monday new charges against former Defense Minister Minister, Nikolay Tsonev, this time with the court-martial.

Meanwhile, also on Monday, Tsonev appeared for his trial at the Sofia City Court over charges of an attempt to bribe an investigator, which led to his arrest.

Tsonev, who was part of the previous, socialist-headed cabinet of the Three Way Coalition from the quota of former Tsar's party National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NMSP), will face the military magistrates over 4 deals signed during his term as Head of the Defense Ministry's Social Agency for the supply of military aircraft equipment. If proven guilty before the court martial, he will face between 3 and 10 years behind bars.

In the other case, the ex Minister, is also tried for the purchase of an US assembly line for the construction of hangars, warehouses, army barracks, and for the supply and storage of food.

According to the Sofia City Prosecutor, Tsonev committed abuse of power as Defense Minister and concluded the deal with the goal to provide benefits for the company "MIC INDUSTRIES" and its representative, leading to material damage for the institution in the amount of nearly BGN 13 M. The non-material damage involves disturbing the schedule for army training.

The high-ranking military witnesses, which appeared at the Monday trial, testified that the US equipment is of top quality, and would be of great use not only for defense purposes, if the State would pay the remaining 20% of the total amount.

On April 8, the Sofia Appellate Court ruled to keep behind bars Tsonev, financial consultant Tencho Popov, and Petar Santirov, claiming that if released on bail they could influence the summoned witnesses. The three men were busted on April 1 over an attempt to bribe Sofia investigator Petyo Petrov in order to obstruct Tsonev’s trial for abuses he allegedly committed during his term as Defense Minister in 2008-2009.

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Tags: Roman Vasilev, Prosecutor, Nikolay Tsonev, Defense Minister, arrest, Tencho Popov, Petyo Petrov, investigator, Petar Santirov, Sofia City Court, Nikolay Mladenov


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