Bulgarian Ex Interior Min Lashes Out Anew Against Successor

Domestic | February 17, 2011, Thursday // 14:03|  views

Socialist MP and former Bulgarian Minister of Interior Rumen Petkov. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's former Interior Minister Rumen Petkov chose not to comment allegations by ex Customs Agency deputy director Antoniy Strandzhev that a senior state official has received a BGN 4 M bribe.

Petkov, who is now an MP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, also threw the blame for the 'Tapegate' scandal involving leaked tapped phone conversations between senior state officials on the current Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is responsible for special surveillance in Bulgaria.

In a morning TV interview Thursday Strandzhev claimed that people from the "excise sector" had given the bribe to a state official from the ruling GERB party to create a criminal scheme that is presently being unfolded.

Apparently that information was exchanged by Strandzhev and his former superior Petkov in a phone conversation one year ago.

When asked about that in Parliament Thursday, Petkov chose not to specify details, but nevertheless said that the persons involved are not trading in fuels, which leaves the option of alcohol as highly probable.

The former socialist minister also commented that the bribe case was "a rumor circulating all around Parliament", but that he did not have enough evidence to file a signal with the prosecution.

Stranzhev had resigned from the Customs Agency in early 2010 over disagreements with the new government's personnel policy in the agency, claiming that the cabinet and GERB group in Parliament are interfering with the agency's work by pressuring it to appoint specific individuals to serve their interests.

The names of both Strandzhev and Petkov were involved in 'Tapegate'. In one of them, current Customs head Vanyo Tanov comments that Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov accused Strandzhev of communicating with Petkov.

Thursday Petkov commented: "As far as I know, talking to me is not yet criminalized in Bulgaria. There is nothing wrong to converse with people you've worked with in the past."

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Tags: Antoniy Strandzhev, Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov, Boyko Borisov, Tanovgate, bribe, GERB, Rumen Petkov, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Bulgarian Socialist Party


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