Bulgarian Interior Launches Internal 'Tapegate' Probe

Domestic | January 11, 2011, Tuesday // 15:18|  views

Bulgaria's, Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, is not certain how tapes with recordings of scandalous conversations among top political figures were made. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Interior Ministry is conducting an internal probe in connection with the leaked tapes of conversations between individuals holding key positions in Bulgaria, Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, informs.

On Monday, sources from the Prosecutor's Office confirmed the recordings were made with special surveillance device.

Tsvetanov stated Tuesday that he was not certain if these were private recordings or leaks of classified information by those who used the special devices.

The Minister, however, vowed that the law about special surveillance devices is fully enforced, but reiterated he was still unaware of the source of the tapes and if they were made legally or illegally.

Tsvetanov further informed his institution has undertaken all necessary measures to prevent leaks of classified information, however, despite all that no one could guarantee that there would not be "moles" in the State structures, he said.

The Minister explained that last year he received a warning from Europol that two people within the police in Bulgaria were leaking information and told how he fulfilled his promise to neutralize them by carrying out the successful special police operation "The Moles."

The "spy" scandal was triggered by three tapes of discrediting conversations between Tanov and his superiors – Finance Minister Simeon Dajnkov and Deputy Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov –  which were released at a news conference last Wednesday by the Galeria weekly, a paper believed to be the mouthpiece of Aleksei Petrov, former special agent of the State National Security Agency DANS, (currently under house arrest), who has been investigated on organized crime charges since his arrest in the much advertised "Operation Octopus" in February 2010.

The scandal further expanded Monday to involve tapes of discrediting conversations between the Customs Head and key Members of the Parliament from the ruling GERB party.

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