Ex Bulgarian 'Octopus' Wants Top Cop's Head

Domestic | January 16, 2011, Sunday // 12:59|  views

According to former DANS special agent, Aleksei Petrov, the ousting of the Interior Minister is the only way to stop the spying scandals, shaking Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, must immediately dismiss Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, according to Aleksei Petrov, a former special agent of the State Agency for National Security and currently under house arrest.

Petrov, a former special agent of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, (currently under house arrest), has been investigated on organized crime charges since his detention in the much advertised "Operation Octopus" in February 2010. He extended his advice to Borisov, during a special TV interview late Saturday, in the aftermath of the scandal triggered by the release of tapes of conversations between the Prime Minister and the Director of the Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov.

The tapes were published Friday by the Galeria weekly, a paper believed to be the mouthpiece of the former special agent.

According to Petrov, the ousting of Tsvetanov is the only way to stop the scandal from flaring even further and halt the threat to national security it presents.

The recordings, which authenticity is yet to be proven, allege Borisov provided a cover-up for the owner of the "Ledenika" beer company, Mihail Mihov.

The tapes reveal that Borisov had called Tanov with an order to immediately pull the tax agents out of the factory and that the "Ledenika" boss personally complained to the PM.

In another tape, Tanov can be heart telling his Deputy, Antoniy Strandzhev, to keep the documents secure while he is away.

The "Octopus" indirectly stood up for Borisov saying the conversation about "Ledenika" did not involve contraband channels and threw the hypothesis the PM could have had some particular information that prompted him to say all this to Tanov.

Petrov, however, firmly rejected Borisov's explanation the tapes have been manipulated and the sentences mounted.

The former special agent appealed to all direct and indirect participants in the scandal, related to contraband channels in Bulgaria, to assume the responsibility for its halting, otherwise it would deal heavy blows to the country's reputation and to the trust in State institutions.

Petrov pointed out such measures must include the cabinet undertaking swift actions while the institutions must quickly clarify how the tapes have been made and all other circumstances surrounding them.

The "Octopus" further spoke about BGN 2-3 B missing from the State treasury because the money has been diverted through contraband channels, adding even superficial analysis leads to Tsvetanov.

Petrov explained he had addressed the issue with Borisov by asking him if he knew where the resources were going and can they be illegally used during the upcoming elections or for criminal activities, including terrorist attacks.

Petrov denied his statements against the Interior Minister were triggered by personal motives such as revenge for his arrest last year.

The "Octopus" rejected any possibility the conversations have been taped privately or manipulated, and denied having anything to do with them.

Meanwhile, in a Sunday interview for the Bulgarian National radio, BNR, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Galeria, Yavor Dachkov, differed in opinion from Petrov, who said Borisov must keep his post in order to preserve the State.

Dachkov called for the PM's resignation and vowed that the tapes, released by his media, are authentic.

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