Bulgarian Ex Customs Agency Official: Govt Worker Bribed BGN 4 M

Domestic | February 17, 2011, Thursday // 08:40|  views

Antoniy Strandzhev, former Deputy Customs Agency head, claimed that a government worker has received BGN 4 M as a bribe. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's former Deputy Customs Agency head Antoniy Strandzhev has announced that people from the "excise duty sector" have given BGN 4 M as a bribe to a senior civil servant.

In an interview for the Bulgarian private TV channel bTV on Thursday, Strandzhev refused to state the name or initials of the government worker, whether he is a MP or a minister.

"The person is in Bulgaria and the things he has been paid for are starting to implement," he said, adding that the person is a member of Bulgaria's ruling party GERB and that PM Boyko Borisov and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov should know his name.

Strandzhev has confirmed the publications in the Bulgarian newspaper "168 Chasa", which states that there has been a meeting, at which a decision for the arrest of the Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov and his deputy was taken.

"The goal was the removal of me and Tanov because many interests have been affected," the Deputy Customs Agency head said.

He has defended the director of the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security (DANS), Tsvetlin Yovchev, and described him as an "absolute professional that I do not understand why he had to resign".

Strandzhev refused to comment on a question whether the resignation of Yovchev was made voluntarily, but noted that the former DANS director refused to perform suspicious orders from his superiors.

However, the former Deputy Customs Agency head commented on Borisov's accusations that Strandzhev's subordinates had access to information from special surveillance devices.

"It is a stupid idea that we can control those who carry out operational activities against us," he said.    

Strandzhev also said it was "pity and ridiculous" that the security of a country depends on one conversation, referring to the recent wiretapping scandal, in which his name was involved as well.

The so-called "Tanovgate" began last month when Galeria weekly published transcripts of taped phone conversations between senior government officials and Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov, which prompted Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to seek and win a confidence vote in Parliament on January 20.

The tapes, whose authenticity is still not verified, allege that the government of PM Boyko Borisov is favoring certain companies and individuals with respect to investigations and appointments in the Customs Agency.

In one of the tapes, Tanov can be heard telling Strandzhev to keep documents secure while he is away.

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Tags: Antoniy Strandzhev, Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov, Boyko Borisov, Tanovgate, bribe, GERB, DANS, Tsvetlin Yovchev


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