Analyst: Bulgarian State Spends Big on Senseless Spying

Domestic | January 6, 2011, Thursday // 17:51|  views

Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov (C) together with his two vice-PMs Simeon Djankov (L) and Tsvetan Tsvetanov (R) at a cabinet sitting. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian economists have criticised the cabinet on surveillance spending amid a scandal that unfolded over leaked secret tapes suggesting quarrels between the country's two vice-PMs.

Wednesday three tapes of conversations between Customs Agency head Gen. Vanyo Tanov with his superiors – Finance Minister Simeon Dajnkov and Deputy Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov – were releаsed by the Galeria weekly, a paper believed to be the mouthpiece of Aleksei Petrov, former special agent of the State National Security Agency DANS, who has been investigated on organized crime charges since his arrest in the much advertised "Operation Octopus" in February 2010.

The full transcripts of the tapes reveal a wide-ranging conflict between Finance Minister Simeon Djankov and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, as well as pressure on part of Tsvetanov on Customs Agency Director Vanyo Tanov, who complains that Tsvetanov and the Interior are pressing him and his staff not to check on potential abuses by certain large companies, and to focus instead on others.

Thursday economists Krasen Stanchev commented that in 2010 has spent 50 times more for special surveillance than a country like the UK, and in 2011 it will continue spending 40 times more than Britain.

According to Stanchev this is a waste of taxpayers' money, and, what is more, the ample access to special surveillance by government officials renders control ineffective, with everyone spying others for his or her own ulterior aims.

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Tags: UK, Krasen Stanchev, spying, special surveillance devices, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Simeon Djankov, Vanyo Tanov


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