Anti-Government Journalist Car Blasted in Bulgaria's Capital

Crime | October 14, 2011, Friday // 07:26|  views

Sasho Dikov, program director of private television Kanal 3, is known for his fiery temper and harsh criticism against the center-right government of Boyko Borisov. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

An improvised explosive device blew up late on Thursday the car of a popular Bulgarian journalist, known for his harsh criticism against the center-right government.

No casualties have been reported.

Sasho Dikov, the owner of the car, is program director of private television Kanal 3. The journalist, known also for his fiery temper, told his channel that he "has received absolutely no threats from anyone, no matter how incredible this may sound."

The blast exploded about 10 pm in front of the residential building where Dikov lives and coincided with the visit of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to Bulgaria.

Similar explosions rocked in the middle of July the offices of two Bulgarian opposition parties in Sofia – the conservative Order, Law and Justice Party, RZS and the party of former Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, the die-hard rightist Democrats for Strong Bulgaria.

The blasts came right before the European Commission published its annual report on Bulgaria's progress in the fight against organised crime and corruption and just a day after Bulgaria's centrist and leftist opposition tabled in parliament a no confidence motion against the cabinet of Boyko Borisov, which the two targeted parties supported.

Rumors emerged, suggesting that the blasts were just PR tricks, masterminded by the parties themselves, and drawing parallels to the bomb that exploded in front of the offices of Galeria, an anti-government newspaper, early on February 10 in downtown Sofia.

The two heads of the newspaper are widely believed to have ordered the blast, under the guidance of Aleksei Petrov, a highly controversial businessman, considered to be the prime minister's archenemy, patron of the weekly and closely linked to RZS.

Right before the blast, Galeria had published transcripts of taped phone conversations between senior government officials and Customs Office chief Vanyo Tanov, which prompted Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to seek and win a confidence vote in Parliament on January 20.

The tapes, whose authenticity was not verified, alleged 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 featured conversations of Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov took office in the summer of 2009, pledging to curb corruption and organized crime after criticism from Brussels.

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