Bulgarian PM Denies Ordering Special Surveillance Devices

Domestic | January 11, 2011, Tuesday // 17:44|  views

Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, says the entire "tape" scandal is actually an advertisement for his rule. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, denied Tuesday ever ordering special surveillance devices.

Borisov further stated that talk about the use of such devices in recording conversations between key Bulgarian figures should not be held until the Prosecutor's Office issues official information.

The PM's statements are related to last week's "spy" scandal, which was triggered by three tapes of discrediting conversations between the Director of the Customs Agnecy, Vanyo Tanov, and his superiors – Finance Minister Simeon Dajnkov and Deputy Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov.

The tapes 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.

On Tuesday, Borisov said the recording could have been made by someone hacking Tanov's cell phone and they might have been manipulated, but declined offering further details.

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

Borisov reiterated his earlier statements that controlling those in power is beneficial for Bulgarian voters.

Also on Monday, the scandal expanded further to involve tapes of discrediting conversations between the Customs Head and key Members of the Parliament from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party.

The conservative Order, Law and Justice (RZS) party released recordings where two GERB MPs, Menda Stoyanova and Iskra Fidosova, can be heart lobbying with Tanov to hire their candidates at key Customs positions.

Borisov pointed out the RZS move was actually an advertisement for his rule, showing it is based on sound principles, since Tanov refused to hire the prot?g?es.

According to the country's leader, the two MPs have not done anything wrong.

The PM explained Fidosova had not lobbied for her candidate, but just asked how he did on the exam, saying there isn't a problem since the individual in question had not been hired over his poor performance.

Regarding Stoyanova's conversation, Borisov stressed experts are still to determine if it had been manipulated.

The PM insisted RZS fulfill their threat and promise to release tapes of conversations between Tanov and himself.

According to Bulgarian laws, special surveillance devices can be used only in order to reveal and prevent serious crimes, when there are no other means to investigate. They cannot be applied without a prosecutor's warrant; must be submitted with the prosecutor, and destroyed in 10 days if not used in legal proceedings as evidence. To make them public is a crime calling for jail time.

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