Ex PM Stanishev Denies Bulgarian Link in Hochegger AffairDomestic | March 13, 2012, Tuesday // 17:55| views
Socialist leader and former PM Sergey Stanishev has called GERB's accusations in connection with the Hochegger corruption scandal "a smoke bomb". Photo by BGNES
Sergey Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), has defined the scandal with Austrian lobbyist Peter Hochegger, in which his name was involved, as a smoke bomb
On Monday Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov stated that a report of a commission at the Austrian Parliament had revealed that the previous three-way coalition government headed by Prime Minister Stanishev had paid EUR 1.5 M to a company of Hochegger, with part of the sum returning to the PR agency owned by Monika Yanova, the live-in girlfriend of Stanishev, who is already the mother of his child.
Tsvetanov demanded a probe into the matter by an ad-hoc inquiry committee.
Dimitar Glavchev, Chair of the Parliamentary Group of center-right ruling party GERB, voiced on Tuesday GERB's official support for establishing an ad-hoc committee.
"It is obvious what the claim of the Interior Minister is aimed at – when you are engaged in combat and the things are not looking good for you, the tactics is to throw a smoke bomb," Stanishev commented.
He accused Tsvetanov of spreading lies, insinuations and false allegations.
"As regards the concrete public procurement contract won by an Austrian company, a number of checks were conducted by the National Audit Office and all documents are available at the Council of Ministers and I insist that they be presented in public to Bulgarian media," the socialist leader and former Prime Minister added.
He argued that Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had instructed the members of the parliamentary group of GERB to conjure up a Bulgarian involvement in the scandal in Austria.
Stanishev was adamant that there was no Bulgarian link in the Austrian graft scandal and that the widely publicized accusations constituted an attempt of GERB to divert attention away from serious problems and to silence him up as an oppositional leader.
"This will not happen because my conscience is absolutely clear. I would like to tell the ruling party that they are facing a party that will not bow to pressure, BSP," he added.
Commenting on the calls for setting up an inquiry committee, Stanishev remarked that it would be a good idea to set up such an entity to look into cases of conflict of interest involving members of GERB.
"GERB are like termites. They ate all up in the state, they gobbled up the fiscal reserve, and now they are at odds about what to do," the socialist leader declared.
PR consultant Peter Hochegger is currently being investigated in Austria on suspicions of bribing high-level public officials.
Hochegger has admitted that he worked on two projects with the Bulgarian government, one worth EUR 500 000 and another one worth around EUR 1 M.
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