Bulgarian GERB MP Accused of LobbyingDomestic | March 29, 2011, Tuesday // 11:36| views
An MP from the ruling GERB Party had proposed amendments that are seen as tool to pressure and harass magistrates. File photo
The Member of the Bulgarian Parliament from the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party, Emil Radev, has been accused of lobbying in favor of his spouse's boss.
Between the first and the second read of the Judicial Power Act, Radev had proposed new texts, expanding the authority and power of the Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS), Georgi Kolev, all while the MP's wife had been selected and hired as VAS Head Secretary, the "Legal World" magazine writes.
The official announcement, posted on March 22, on the VAS internet site informs Maria Radeva had been ranked first among 8 candidates. Before that Radeva had worked as a lawyer in a legal office in the Black Sea city of Varna, where the couple is from.
On Monday, Radev told the Bulgarian daily Dnevnik that he had no idea his spouse had been selected for the job and firmly denied any conflict of interests regarding the proposed texts on the grounds the changes would affect only judges while his wife is going to work for the administration of the Court.
According to the proposed amendments, the VAS Chair will have the authority of moving judges from one department to another without their agreement and to order help for the VAS staff from magistrates from the Regional Administrative Courts and from District Courts with the latter being subordinates to the Supreme Court of Cassations and its Chair, Lazar Gruev. The new authorities are given only to Kolev and not to Gruev, Dnevnik points out.
The proposed amendments have triggered a huge scandal in the Parliamentary Legal Committee last week and caused outrage among magistrates, the Justice Ministry and the opposition with their main objection being the changes will become a tool for Kolev to pressure and harass judges.
The power to move them from departments is seen as a way to avoid the principle of random distribution of the cases among the magistrates.
During the Parliamentary Legal Committee meeting, Radev had left the room in the middle of the heated debates and at the end, his colleague from GERB and co-author of the texts, Krasimir Tsipov, had withdrawn them.
Radev told Dnevnik he had proposed the amendments to alleviate the work of VAS and to speed up cases related to abuse of the EU funds.
Emil Radev, is a former navy seal from the secret navy unit "Tihina." The unit is known as the place of military service for the bosses of the shady, controversial and very powerful Varna-based business group TIM.
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