Bulgarian Prosecutor Sacks Notorious 'Plevneliev' Bribe Case

Crime | October 17, 2011, Monday // 13:57|  views

Georgi Kadiev, Sofia Mayor runner endorsed by the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, is facing a slander trial in a high-profile bribe case. Photo by BGNES

The Sofia City Prosecutor's Office have dismissed their probe stemming from revelations of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov that three Sofia municipal councilmen have been involved in bribes and blackmail.

The claim was filed by the Association for Free Speech Anna Politkovskaya.

The site for investigative journalism bivol.bg reports that on October 10, 2011, Prosecutor, Rumyana Arnaoudova, had closed the case without even interrogating Tsvetan Tsvetanov and the said councilmen - Orlin Ivanov, Radoslav Toshev, and Danail Georgiev, who is currently Sofia's regional governor.

The scandal was provoked in the beginning of September by an unexpected statement on behalf of the vice-chair of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party and head of the party's election headquarters, Tsvetan Tsvetanov that back in 2007 Plevneliev turned down a bribery attempt at Sofia Municipality, but failed to report it to authorities.

According to Tsvetanov, in 2007, Plevneliev told him that three municipal councilmen from the City Hall, known as the "municipal brokers," asked him for a bribe of EUR 500 000 to secure his ownership of a small land plot in the Sofia Business Park, one of the top projects of the presidential nomination of the center-right  GERB while he was a businessman.

The revelations prompted left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Sofia mayoral candidate, Georgi Kadiev to announce the names of the three municipal councilmen who allegedly tried to bribe Plevneliev back in 2007.

According to Kadiev, Plevneliev shared the names of the three councilmen with current Bulgarian Socialist Party Member of the Parliament, Petar Korumbashev, who in his turn informed the Mayor runner.

Prosecutor Arnaoudova has asked only Plevneliev and Korumbashev to submit written explanations, bivol writes. In them Plevneliev reiterates what he told the media in the aftermath of Tsvetanov's blunder – that he had never been asked to give a bribe and explains Kadiev's behavior as being provoked by "wrong media interpretations" of the Interior Minister's words.

In his written explanation, Korumbashev is backstabbing his fellow party member by reporting that Kadiev's media statements were unfounded since the latter never attended in person the meeting with Plevneliev. He admits of having organized a meeting between now-presidential hopeful and the Chair of the Sofia City Council to help finalize the deal and to avoid any opportunities to "pressure Plevneliev," without saying what exact pressure he meant.

The Prosecutor's interpretation of the law, which is the grounds for dismissing the probe, is that failing to report a crime is not punishable, unless it involves counterfeiting.

Bulgaria's Penal Code, Section Bribes postulates the following:

Article 301 – An official, who asks or accepts a gift or any other profit, which is not owed to them, or accepts a proposal or a promise for a gift or profit to perform or to not perform a job duty or for having performed or not such job duty, is punished on bribe charges with up to six years of jail time and a fine of up to BGN 5 000.

Article 205 – When citizens learn about a committed common crime they have the public duty to immediately notify the authorities – the prosecutor's office, the investigation or any other State body.

Article 294 – Anyone who assists an individual, who has committed a crime, to avoid or to foil a criminal prosecution of the said individual, without previously agreeing with this individual before they had committed the crime, is punished on charges of personal harboring by up to five years of jail time, but never with a sentence more grave than the one provided for harboring.

The Anna Politkovskaya Association already announced they will appeal the Prosecutor's decision.

The three councilmen meanwhile launched trail for slander against Kadiev; they claim full innocence.

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Tags: Georgi Kadiev, slander, municipal, sofia, presidential, GERB, Rosen Plevneliev, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Prosecutor's Office, Rumyana Arnaoudova, probe, Petar Korumbashev, bivol.bg, Association for Free Speech Anna Politkovskaya, Orlin Ivanov, Radoslav Toshev, Danail Georgiev, BSP


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