All 3 Participants in Bulgaria's 'Watergate' Deny Being Bugged

Crime | May 9, 2013, Thursday // 12:34|  views

Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov. Photo by BGNES

All three participants in the scandalous conversation, revealed through leaked wiretaps in Bulgarian media, have denied being bugged and making the recordings.

Speaking Thursday, before the start of the sitting of the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, said former Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naydenov, former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and already-former Sofia City Prosecutor Nikolay Kokinov, have all rejected being behind the taping of the talk between them.

Tsatsarov stated he was not ruling out the lead the recoding could have been made through Naydenov's cell phone, without the latter knowing that his phone was bugged.

The Chief Prosecutor further informed the probe in the case carried out by the Inspectorate at the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassations would conclude within the 2-week deadline. Two other people will be questioned later Thursday as well – former Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and a fourth person, whose voice is heard in the audio file.

Tsatsarov declined offering any other details from the probe, saying after its conclusion, media will be given information if Kokinov has committed a serious breach by handing to Borisov results from the earlier probe in unauthorized wiretapping before they have been officially made public.

"Legal proceedings against the former Sofia City Prosecutor will be decided on then as well. We want to end this as quickly as possible," he said.

On Borisov's statement that he has not been interrogated by the prosecution, but was invited for a "chat" to mull who made the recordings, Tsatsarov stressed the following: "The Prosecutor's Office does not hold chats and talks – it interrogates defendants and questions witnesses."

During the infamous conversation, the three can be heard discussing options for obstructing proceedings against Naydenov who faces charges of corruption and malfeasance in office.

The recording of the scandalous talks was released in end-April, stirring a massive scandal.

According to legal experts, there is a long list of crimes stemming from the conversation such as obstruction of justice, trading influence, corruption in public tenders, abuse of EU funds, leaks of classified information, and unauthorized spying.

Naydenov is currently on trial for corruption and malfeasance in office and is also a protected witness assisting the investigation of unauthorized use of special surveillance devices during the term in office of Tsvetan Tsvetanov as Interior Minister.

On May 7, Boyko Borisov was summoned to be interviewed at the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassations in connection with the ongoing illegal wiretap leak probe.

The Bulgarian Watergate scandal unfurled at the end of March when Sergey Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), submitted a tipoff to Tsatsarov, about alleged illegal wiretapping of politicians, businesspeople and magistrates which had taken place during the rule of Borisov's center-right GERB party (2009-2013).

Bulgaria's former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is currently GERB's election campaign manager, faces charges of failing to exercise proper control over the use of special surveillance devices during his term in office.

However, Tsvetanov cannot be charged because he is immune to prosecution as a candidate MP at the forthcoming May 12 snap elections.

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Tags: Miroslav Naydenov, wiretapping, Agriculture Minister, wiretapping, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Boyko Borisov, Nikolay Kokinov, special surveillance devices, GERB, Sergey Stanishev, Sotir Tsatsarov, Chief Prosecutor, security, guards, Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry, Kalin Georgiev, Rosen Plevneliev, special surveillance devices, wiretapping, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Boyko Borisov, GERB, corruption, prosecution, Miroslav Naydenov, Agriculture Minister, police, intelligence, Watergate, special surveillance devices, SRS, Boyko Borisov, phone, conversations, Prosecutor's Office


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