Bulgarian EU Official Accused of Bullying Subordinates

Bulgaria in EU | January 30, 2013, Wednesday // 19:40|  views

Former Bulgarian representative in the European Court of Auditors, Nadejda Sandolova. Photo by kafene.net

Three employees of the European Court of Auditors of the EU will sue the institution for covering up cases of moral abuse on the part of Bulgarian representative, Nadejda Sandolova.

The news was published by the French Liberation on the day Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, was in Paris for a meeting with counterpart, Francois Hollande.

The three have decided to file suit after December 13, 2012, the date when the Court of Auditors ruled to not refer Sandolova to the European Court in Luxembourg. A week later, however, the employees have received a letter from the Court's President stating the opinion the Bulgarian must be immediately released from the post.

Despite the letter, Sandolova had kept the job until the end of her term in office on January 1, 2013.

Speaking Wednesday for the Bulgarian Trud (Labor) daily she said these have been "very trivial cases of complaining."

"I have a 17-year career as an auditor, and if this is all that they can dig against me – I am flattered," Sandolova stressed.

According to Liberation, the three employees felt in deep depression, were diagnosed for it and are still undergoing treatment over the constant harassment and bullying on the part of their Bulgarian boss.

The three are – Belgian Didier Lebrun, her Chief of Staff between 2007 and 2010, Belgian Sonja Deweerdt, her secretary in 2007 – 2011, and Luxembourgian, Margot Lietz, her assistant in 2007 – 2008.

According to the report, Sandalova used to blow cigarette smoke in Lebrun's face knowing he suffered from asthma; called Sonja "Sonche Slonche" (Little Sonja the Elephant) and gave her as gifts clothes several sizes smaller to humiliate her in implying she was overweight. She also constantly yelled at her subordinates for anything, including her coffee being brought to her with a minute delay.

The employees were accused of theft every time a document would go missing and Sandolova became enraged when a member of her team refused to undertake an assignment. She bragged she had a stockpile of weapons in Bulgaria and could kill anyone from 10 meters distance; reduced the lunch breaks to 20 minutes; demanded from subordinates to eat lunch in their offices, and did not allow Deweerdt to go the restroom without a chaperone - her male Bulgarian assistant, Vasil Petkov.

During the December hearing on the above allegations, Sandalova had stated: "A person is either a member of my team – a team player - or my enemy."

She further dismissed the above before Trud by saying the EU institutions offer opportunities to employees to take prolonged sick leave over such complaints and they used them as a reason to not go to work for months and even years.

She further confirmed before the daily she had political ambitions, reaching as far as leading a party – the "right-wing" DANO (Democratic Alternative for National Unity – in Bulgarian DANO means Hopefully), established in December by two dissidents from the marginal, conservative Order, Law and Justice Party, RZS, Dimitar Chukarski and Todor Velikova.

Sandolova's replacement in Brussels is Ilyana Ivanova, until now a Member of the European Parliament from the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.

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Tags: Nadejda Sandolova, European Court of Auditors, representative, harassment, moral abuse, European Court in Luxembourg, subordinates, bullying, EU, Bulgarian, DANO, RZS, GERB


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