Bulgaria's PM Vows to Punish, Dismiss over 'Tapegate'

Domestic | February 8, 2011, Tuesday // 14:05|  views

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has promised that the guilty ones for the so-called "Tapegate" will be punished and dismissed. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov has vowed to punish one of the two authority bodies on use of special surveillance devices, guilty for the so-called "Tanovgate" scandal, which leaked discrediting conversations between senior government officials.

"One of the two authority bodies has made a mistake, so there should be punished and dismissed employees. When the investigation on the case is over, I will comment more on the topic," Borisov said Tuesday.

He noted that he envisioned the Operative and Technical Operations Directorate, which has allowed the improper storage of information.

The topic for the use of special surveillance devices stirred Bulgaria after the scandal with leaked discrediting conversations of senior government officials, including Borisov, erupted in January.

The prime minister commented on the report by the parliamentary sub-committee for control over the use of special surveillance devices, which concluded that there were many gaps in the system and that the direct managers in the security sector should take the responsibility.

"The only thing that bother me is that a lot of money and human resources are being spent on organizing events that would not help the court in anyway," Borisov said.

He stated that the committee should prove whether officers, who were involved in the eavesdropping, made reports and submitted them to their managers.

The leader of the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB), Ivan Kostov, has asked Borisov to ask Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov and the Director of the State Agency for National Security (DANS),Tsvetelin Yovchev, to take responsibility for the "Tapegate" scandal.

"I ask them to take responsibility every single day," Borisov said.

The prime minister agreed with the data, released on Monday, that the use of special surveillance devices in Bulgaria has increased three times for the last three years.

According to Borisov, the excessive eavesdropping is an unnecessary waste of human and financial resources and this is why legislative amendments are required.

He noted that both the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office have increased significantly their requests for permission to use special surveillance devices.

The so-called "Tanovgate" recordings have formally been leaked by two sources – the Galeria weekly and the marginal conservative party RZS ("Order, Law, Justice), both of which are deemed to be connected with Alexei Petrov, a former undercover agent arrested in a special police operation in February 2010, dubbed "the Octopus" and "the Tractor".

The tapes, whose authenticity remains disputed despite the fact that several institutions and alleged independent experts have come up with different conclusions on whether they were manipulated, contain alleged information that the government of PM Boyko Borisov is favoring certain companies and individuals with respect to investigations and appointments in the Customs Agency. All tapes are of conversations of Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Tapegate, special surveillance devices, Prosecutor's Office, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Vanyo Tanov, Customs Agency, interior ministry, tapped, conversations, Galeria, DANS


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