Bulgaria's Ex PM Mocks Classified Info Charges against Him

Domestic | November 15, 2010, Monday // 20:04|  views

Stanishev (right) is not concerned about the classified info leak charges against him. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's former Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev declared he has had a "hearty laugh" while studying the evidence against him on charges of losing classified documents.

Stanishev is facing charges of mishandling classified information during his term in office because of the alleged disappearing of seven intelligence documents from the Council of Ministers.

These are three documents from the State Agency for National Security (DANS), two from the Interior Ministry, one from the Defense Ministry and one from NATO.

On Monday, Stanishev was summoned by the National Investigative Service to receive the materials in the legal case against him.

In addition to mocking the accusations, upon leading the premises of the NIS where he spent two hours, Stanishev said he will request that the case against him be terminated for lack of a violation. He believes there is no evidence indicating the loss of intelligence documents.

The leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party is convinced that the trial against him is politically motivated, and is inspired by the ruling party GERB and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. He believes Borisov has made recommendations to the Prosecutor's Office and the investigators with respect to the classified information charges.

In his words, during his term as Prime Minister, he handled over 3000 classified documents, and now he is being charged for the alleged loss of seven such documents, or 0.2% of the total number.

Stanishev demands that the trial against him be open to the public in order to expose the accusations against him.

"It will be interesting for the public to see these documents some day because some of them cannot be argued to contain anything like a state secret. The witnesses' testimonies are clear about who handled these documents. There are also other questions we would like to ask the investigators – for example, why was I never notified about missing documents until the very last week of my term if there are so many institutions doing reports on classified documents every year," the ex PM said.

He believes his trial will demonstrate if the judiciary in Bulgaria is independent.

It is expected the Prosecutor's Office will move to lift the charges over Stanishev's clean criminal record and will request an administrative penalty.

The maximum amount of the fine in similar cases is BGN 3 000.

Stanishev gave up his immunity as a Member of the Parliament a year ago, after Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, announced his office has started a probe.

Late in October 2009 Stanishev was questioned over the concealment and leaking of the classified report, but denied any wrongdoing and described the case as provocation and undue use of "pressure".

Stanishev claims he properly returned the report to DANS, as required by law. Stanishev also relinquished his immunity as a MP, in order to facilitate the proceedings.

The contentious year-old top secret report by the National Security Agency (DANS), which sheds light on the influence of criminal organizations within certain ministries and state agencies, was mysteriously handed over to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov by notorious security agent Aleksei Petrov at the end of October and was unofficially published online days after.

Aleksei Petrov was arrested in February 2010 in a much publicized special police operation codenamed "Octopus", and is currently jailed facing charges of leading an organized crime ring.

If formally charged, Stanishev will join 4 ministers from his cabinet who have been already brought to court: fellow Socialist and ex Labor Minister Emilia Maslarova; two former Agriculture Ministers, Valeri Tsvetanov and Nihat Kabil from DPS; and ex Defense Minister, Nikolay Tsonev from the NMSP.

The case of leaked secret reports has raised considerable alarm in Bulgarian society and institutions since last fall. Former DANS chief Petko Sertov was among the ones questioned over the matter.

In 2005-2009, Sergey Stanishev was the Prime Minister of Bulgaria leading a Cabinet of a three-way coalition made up of his Socialist Party, the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), and the National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NSMP) of former Tsar and PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg.

In July 2009, Stanishev's Socialist Party was defeated in the general elections by Boyko Borisov's center-right party GERB.

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Tags: Sergey Stanishev, classified report, classified information, Boyko Borisov, Aleksei Petrov, National Security Agency (DANS), classified report on organized crime, National Investigative Service, Sergey Stanishev, DANS, Stanishev


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