Bulgaria's PM Claims Evidence 'Tapped' Conversation Manipulated

Domestic | January 28, 2011, Friday // 15:51|  views

According to Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov, one of the allegedly tapped conversations was 46 seconds longer than the transcript of the conversation. Photo by BGNES

The conversation about the Ledenika brewery owner Mihail Mihov has been prolonged by 46 seconds, Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov has announced.

"The recorded conversation about Mihov that was distributed through a USB port is longer than the transcript of the conversation, provided by a mobile operator," Borisov said, regarding the allegedly tapped phone conversation between him and the Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov.

According to the published conversation in the media, the conversation tackled issues related to the activities and license of Ledenika and his owner.

Borisov is allegedly heard asking Tanov to immediately pull the tax agents out of the Ledenika factory because its boss Mihail Mihov aka "Misho Birata" personally complained to the PM.

"I just received the transcripts of the conversation, which is 120 seconds, for example, while the conversation in the USB port is 46 seconds longer. Where did the additional words and sentences come from?" Borisov said.

Other released tapes of conversations between him and Tanov suggest that Borisov asked to restore to work a friend of his, Nikolay Vuchev, at the customs at Sofia airport.

Earlier on Friday, the prime minister said he could not remember what he talked about in March 2010, but he said he knew "for sure" that he called about Vuchev and Mihov.

In his words, the people who revealed the tapes depend on the fact that no one would remember their exact words.

"Since the original carrier is gone and it cannot be compared, the goal of these people is to make the society believe that these men are up to something," Borisov said.

He confirmed he did not know that he was tapped during his conversation with Tanov on March 13, 2010. However, he said he would say the same things now because nothing bothers him.

Borisov explained that he then called Tanov to ask why the customs officers were pressuring Mihov, if the company had already received its license back.

"I am waiting for announcement for all checks by the Prosecutor's Office and then I will explain why the customs officers were at the Ledenika factory and whether they have found any violations," Borisov said.

Bulgaria experienced this month an avalanche of leaked wiretaps which first targeted the country's interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and then focused on Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

The so-called "spy scandal" was triggered by three tapes of discrediting conversations between Tanov and his superiors – Finance Minister Simeon Djankov and Deputy Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov.

The other two released tapes of conversations were between Tanov and Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov. One of them is regarding the Ledenika issue, while the other is about Vuchev's restoration to work at Sofia airport.

The conversations were stored on USB ports and were revealed by the Bulgarian Galeria weekly, a paper believed to be the mouthpiece of Alexei 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 detention in the much advertised "Operation Octopus" in February 2010.

On Thursday, the Chair of the subcommittee for control over special surveillance devices, Yavor Notev, said that the supervising prosecutor, Plamen Georgiev, neither confirmed, not denied the authenticity of the tapes.

Tsvetelin Yovchev, Head of the Bulgaria's State National Security Agency DANS, has stated that the allegedly tapped phone conversations are manipulated. In his words, those who hope that the recorded conversations are real are up for an unpleasant surprise.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, special surveillance devices, tapped, conversations, phone, Vanyo Tanov, Simeon Djankov, Vladislav Goranov, Mihail Mihov, Ledenika, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Galeria, Alexei Petrov, DANS


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