Comment by Alexander Alexandrov
Within just a few hours, the prosecutor’s office and the Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev personally attacked President Rumen Radev on several fronts. First, the Constitutional Court was asked to interpret the immunity of the Head of State, who understood that the Prosecutor General wanted to have the opportunity to investigate the President in a particular case while his presidential term was running.
The prosecution then released details of the case and the prosecutor’s order to suspend pre-trial proceedings. Finally, he released telephone conversations recorded by Special Intelligence Means (CPCs), some of which have already been converted into physical evidence. by law, that they should be fit for an indictment and for a future trial.
The records show that the head of the Air Force (Air Force), Tsanko Stoykov, was wiretapped and that some of the conversations were with a man who is probably President Rumen Radev. The topic of the talks was the request of the CPCONPI to the Air Force for providing documents related to the verification of a possible conflict of interests of Radev from the time when he himself was the chief of the Air Force, and before that at the base in Graf Ignatievo. The commission verified that the law had not been violated in the appointment of Desislava Gencheva (subsequently Radeva) to the Air Force (SJC) staff and in the provision of housing.
The state prosecution also released a transcript of selected parts of the phone calls. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, “the analysis thus conducted found data and evidence of a high degree of likelihood of involvement in a criminal activity being investigated, of a person holding a high official position – President of the Republic of Bulgaria, and the identified criminal acts were not directly related with the performance of his service. ”
All of this raises at least 6 embarrassing questions to the prosecution.
1. When and on what occasion did the eavesdropping of the Air Force chief Tsanko Stoykov begin?
By law, CPCs may be implemented at the request of the prosecution, the Ministry of Interior and SANS in operational development or because of pre-trial proceedings production on a felony charge of more than 5 years in prison. The CPCONPI may also make a request in specific cases – if data have been obtained on persons holding high-level public positions who prepare, commit or have already committed acts of corruption that are not sufficient to initiate or initiate criminal proceedings, and upon receiving data on events or activities that pose a threat to corruption in which such persons participated. However, there should be a mandatory sanction.
CPCs may also apply if the person has access to top secret information and there is doubt about the leakage of such information. Or in the case of a national security threat. However, what is collected in this order can only be used after a subsequent court authorization.
In the present case, the CPCs against Stoykov were operated by SANS and not at the request of the CPCONPI, which means that they were not applied in the conflict of interest check. It is not clear what the chief of the Air Force is suspected of, but it is undisputed that he is one of the closest to the president. Gen. Tsanko Stoykov succeeded Rumen Radev at the helm of the Air Force after years in which he was his deputy at various levels in army structures. Under his leadership, the specialized military commission, which had to rank the candidate companies to sell fighter jets to Bulgaria, indicated that it considered the most appropriate Swedish Gripen aircraft, preferring it to second-hand F-16 fighters from Portugal and the United States and Eurofighter from Italy . The decision was overturned by Borisov’s third cabinet, which struck a deal with the US on F-16 fighters.
2. Why is the prosecutor’s office activated now?
The recordings with the CPC were made as early as April 2019. The prosecutor’s office claims that it is a serious crime within the meaning of the Criminal Code – under Art. 6. This provision refers to the pursuit of a person who “conspired with one or more persons to do in the country or abroad crimes for which imprisonment for more than three years is provided and which seeks to obtain property gain or to exercise unlawful influence over the activity of a public authority or local self-government. “In this case, the second hypothesis is obvious – for illegal influence.
If the prosecution is really convinced of its thesis, why has it not done anything to the Chief of the Air Force for eight months? He is not known to have been asked to remove him from the post or to have initiated any proceedings against him.
3. What are the wrongful acts and influences?
Undoubtedly, it is not appropriate for the Chief of the Air Force to call, comment and consult with the President on a probe into a conflict of interest concerning the Head of State. But on records released by the prosecution, the chief of the air force says he will comply with the law and provide everything he has been asked to by the CPCONPI. None of the records heard an order or a decision to conceal documents. The general and the staff discuss what and when they can submit and comment on the validity of the requests, provided that Radev was not married to his current spouse during the period under review.
On July 31, 2019, i. Nearly three months after the recorded conversations, the CPCONPI, by decision RS – 454-19-049 of 31.07.2019, announces that it does NOT establish a conflict of interest with respect to Rumen Georgiev Radev due to lack of private interest, his or his related person . The Commission obviously does not think anyone is hiding data from it. But eight months later, prosecutors began talking about data hiding and unlawful influence.
4. Is it appropriate for the prosecutor’s office to disclose records with the CPC in pending proceedings?
This is not the first time the prosecution has selectively released evidence of pending proceedings. This was the case with the NRA hacking scandal when she leaked evidence against the accuser as Tad Group boss Ivan Todorov. For the first time, however, audio recordings are being distributed, and in an unknown investigation so far. Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev has justified his permission from the supervising prosecutor to distribute the records because of the great public interest. Authoritative lawyers however, they do not think this is right.
Before “Dnevnik” lawyer Daniela Dokovska commented: “According to Article 145-a of the Criminal Code, which uses information collected through special intelligence means beyond its purpose for protection of national security or for the purpose of criminal proceedings, shall be punished by imprisonment. up to 3 years and a fine of 500 BGN. And when the act was committed by an official who has acquired the information or has become known to him in the circle of his office, the punishment is from 1 to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 5 thousand BGN. . In this case, the court may also order deprivation of rights. Investigation materials may be disclosed with the permission of the prosecutor, but not when their disclosure constitutes a crime. The prosecutor cannot authorize an act that the legislator has committed in a crime. ” .
According to lawyer Mikhail Ekimdjiev, “the publication of such records and conversations involving the head of state would be permissible insofar as it is still the most public figure in a country and the publicity in respect of it outweighs personal data.” But it is also necessary for the purpose of publishing this data. “The source of information in this case is the prosecutor’s office, which obviously has this information and should use it if it considers that a crime has been committed, for appropriate collection of evidence. Nothing explains why the information should be published. Usually, the information collected through the CPC is classified as state secret and if this is not done and there is some new, “revolutionary” approach, it is curious to know what is due to it, “he told Dnevnik.
There is also a court ruling on the matter, Mediapool recalls. It is the case of Gorna Oryahovitsa physician Mikhail Milatovich, who was publicly insulted as the killer of a newborn baby. The then interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, reads in the Parliament the CPC from conversations between doctors, citing the great public interest and permission from the supervising prosecutor. Subsequently, the doctor was indicted and ordered the prosecutor’s office to pay him BGN 40,000 in compensation. The court was adamant: “Public disclosure of the CPC in pending criminal proceedings is a definite unlawful act.”
5. How does the president even get on the CDC records?
In principle, immunity does not protect officials from future investigation, prosecution and, eventually, a court. However, this must be done within the framework of the law and the established procedure. It is a fact that over the years the services have devised numerous ways of circumventing the procedures in order to gather information of interest to the government. Case law has shown that the evidence thus collected falls in court, if at all. But often the goal is not to go to court, but to hold compromising information to use at an opportune moment.
6. How many more such files are piling up at the prosecutor’s office?
How many more files and records with the CPCs go unused at the SANS, the Prosecutor’s Office, the CPCONPI, the Ministry of the Interior, DATE? And waiting for the moment to hit one or the other? How much of this information is used to push one or the other interests to put certain individuals or entire units under control? Because even according to official statistics, a maximum of 20% of the enclosed CPCs enter the court. The rest are obviously implemented and used for completely different purposes.