Bulgarian Govt Reports to Brussels on 'Tapegate'

Bulgaria in EU | January 18, 2011, Tuesday // 19:43|  views

Bulgaria has notified the EC about its measures on "Tapegate". Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The European Commission has received a formal notification by the Bulgarian government about the tapes of discrediting conversations between key Bulgarian political figures, including Prime Minister Borisov, recently leaked to the public.

The tapes, whose authenticity is questioned, leaked recently by the Galeria weekly contain conversations that provide evidence of political cover-ups on part of the Borisov government for certain companies in Bulgaria such as Lukoil, Billa, and the Ledenika brewery, and also expose a conflict between Bulgaria's two Deputy Prime Ministers.

"I can confirm that after the request of the European Commission for clarification with respect to the tapes, today we received a response about the steps taken by the Bulgarian Prosecutor's Office," EC Spokesperson Mark Gray announced as cited by BTA.

He has added that the European Commission is not going to make a statement on the Bulgarian "Tapegate" as it is leaving it to be investigated by the Bulgarian authorities. The requested information is supposed to help Brussels track the procedure steps of the Bulgarian authorities, as in previous cases with the use of special surveillance devices.

Gray has declined to comment on whether Tapegate will find a place in the EC interim monitoring report on Bulgaria's post-EU accession progress under the so called Cooperation and Verification mechanism; the report will most likely come out at the end of February, before the annual monitoring report in July.

Gray has pointed out that the interim report will be a technical assessment of Bulgaria's progress in its problem areas, and that it early to speculate on whether Tapegate will enter the monitoring document.

A day earlier, on Monday, the EC spokesperson again stated that the tape scandal is an internal matter within the authority of Bulgaria's Prosecutor's Office, which must establish if the recordings were made legally or not; if there has been a judge warrant to make them, and then decide if this is a criminal case that must be moved forward.

On Sunday, Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov said that he wants to get foreign experts to check the authenticity of the tapes.

The latest scandal was triggered last week by the release of tapes of conversations between Borisov and the Director of the Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov.

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.

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Tags: EC, Tapegate, Mark Gray, EC, European Commission, Prosecutor's Office, tapped, tapping, taped, tapes


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