Ex-Bulgarian Top Cop Tied with Murky Figures, Russian Intelligence - WikiLeaks

Diplomacy | May 16, 2011, Monday // 17:47|  views

Bulgaria's former Interior Minister (2005-2007), Rumen Petkov. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's former Interior Minister (2005-2007), Rumen Petkov is presented as a quite controversial figure in a newly released WikiLeaks diplomatic cable (Full Text READ HERE).

"Interior Minister Rumen Petkov is one of the most influential personalities in the current government, and is almost certainly the one who evokes the strongest feelings among Bulgarians," the 2006 cable says.

"Petkov understands that Bulgaria must show progress on rule of law in order to enter the EU in 2007. However, past associations with controversial figures may make it difficult for him to move against certain OC interests. Petkov has also long been publicly associated with Russians who are either directly or indirectly affiliated with Russian intelligence,"

Petkov's personal resolve to tackle organized crime had not seen significant progress in 2006, according to former US Ambassador to Bulgaria, John Bayrle, who wrote the cable. "The five largest organized crime groups in Bulgaria (TIM, VIS, SIC, Nove Holding, and Multigroup) are household names and generally operate with impunity," he states.

The cable further points out that over 30 people had been killed in the years prior to 2006 in gangland-style shootings linked to organized crime, none of which had been solved at the time it was written.

The cable states Petkov is a rather complicated character: " While often demonized by his opponents, Petkov is not the one-dimensional character he is sometimes made out to be; whether out of conviction or convenience, he is clearly on the side of reformist Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev," it goes.

"In sharp contrast to the statesmanlike style of President Parvanov and the reformist enthusiasm of PM Stanishev, Petkov is well known for his hard-working, hard-drinking approach to politics," the diplomatic cable elaborates on the former Interior Head's personality.

In the past months, Petkov and current US Ambassador James Warlick have engaged in a furious war of words that flared after the US envoy alleged the Socialist's visa was withdrawn on grounds of an investigation carried out against him, but refused to specify the details.

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Tags: cable, Rumen Petkov, Wikileaks, TIM, VIS, SIC, Nove Holding, Multigroup, russian intelligence, controversial figures


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