Bulgaria's Top Cop Accuses President of Anti-cabinet Plot

Domestic | January 24, 2011, Monday // 10:01|  views

Bulgaria’s Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, refuses to talk about the spying scandal shaking Bulgaria with the excuse this is classified information. Photo by BGNES

Former agents of the Communist State Security (DS), including President Georgi Parvanov, and Aleksei Petrov, are behind attacks on the Bulgarian cabinet.

The claim was made by Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who spoke Monday in an interview for the private TV channel bTV.

Tsvetanov was adamant the discrediting taped conversations between key Bulgarian political figures, which leaked in public space in the last weeks, are part of a scenario to topple the government.

The Minister, however, refused to explain why the Head of the Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov, had been spied on, on the grounds this was classified information, but was firm Tanov, himself, has not been the subject of an investigation.

Tsvetanov reiterated the official cabinet version that there is no evidence and proof yet the tapes were made with special surveillance devices, adding the Parliamentary Committee must first establish what exactly happened with these recordings, and then decide if the information can be declassified.

Despite being asked numerous questions about the spying scandal, the Minister declined offering more details or commenting on different statements and hypotheses.

Policeman number one in the country rejected recent wide-spread talk and fears in the country, related to rumors of mass spying and privacy laws violations, by saying that only between 3 000 and 5 000 people have been monitored with special surveillance devices in 2010, and some of them had more than one registered cell phone.

Tsvetanov explained he signs under each and every order for the legally warranted use of special surveillance devices and there was strong control over those employees working with such devices. He said he did not personally know a wizard who can mount and manipulate such recordings, but said it was not impossible to do so.

In another attack on President Parvanov, the Minister stated banker Emil Kyulev, who was gunned down and killed in Sofia in a high-profile murder plot, benefited the most from the bank system collapse in 1996.

"In 2005, Kyulev was already an advisor to Parvanov and was later killed. Everything is intertwined," Tsvetanov pointed out.

The tapes in question were published on January 14 by the Galeria weekly, a paper believed to be the mouthpiece of the former special agent of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, Aleksei Petrov, (currently under house arrest), has been investigated on organized crime charges since his detention in the much advertised "Operation Octopus" in February 2010.

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.

Galeria released earlier other discrediting recordings of phone calls between Tanov, Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, and his Deputy, Vladislav Goranov.

Tanov denies having such conversation with Borisov.

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