Ex Bulgaria PM Girlfriend Vows Legal Action over Hochegger Affair

Bulgaria in EU | March 14, 2012, Wednesday // 18:07|  views

Austrian PR consultant Peter Hochegger, photo by kleinezeitung.at

Monika Yanova, PR expert and live-in girlfriend of socialist leader and former Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev, gave a press conference Wednesday to shed light on her involvement in the scandal with Austrian lobbyist Peter Hochegger.

She clarified that her PR agency had been a subcontractor of Hochegger's consultancy firm between 2006 and 2008 on two contracts worth a total of EUR 260 000 and handed out copies of the documents to the journalists in attendance.

In 2008, Hochegger's firm was paid EUR 1.5 M by the three-way coalition government to carry out a promotional campaign titled "Reinforcing the Positive Image of the Republic of Bulgaria in the European Union".

Yanova said that the money had gone to publications in European media outlets promoting Bulgaria's post-EU accession progress.

She said she had also organized a press conference of then-Prime Minister Stanishev with leading European journalists in Brussels.

Yanova claimed that she had never met former Austrian Interior Minister Ernst Strasser, who was reported to have received EUR 100 000 from Hochegger for advising Bulgaria on how to boost its image in the EU and how to reform its criminal police.

On Wednesday, Ernst Strasser had a hearing by an inquiry committee of the Austrian parliament.

When asked about the EUR 100 000 fee, he said that he had dined with Stanishev once but he had never consulted representatives of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry.

Two weeks ago, Sergey Stanishev argued in an interview that he could not remember meeting Strasser.

In her Wednesday statement, Yanova apologized for denying the existence of the contracts with the Austrian lobbyist in her previous interviews.

"We have met, but the truth is that I have never had anything in common with them. I do not have the capacity, they are a huge international company, while my territory is Bulgaria," the PR expert told Capital weekly.

"I did this because I was afraid that the main goal of the case was its political impact," she reasoned.

Asked whether she had attended the dinner of Strasser and Stanishev, Yanova said she could not remember.

She stressed that her name was not involved in any way in the political corruption scandal in Austria and vowed legal action against her accusers.

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Tags: Peter Hochegger, Monika Yanova, Sergey Stanishev, three-way coalition, corruption, Austria, lobbyist


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