Bulgarian state surveillance staffer arrested for allegedly selling secrets

Written by on February 18, 2014 in Bulgaria - No comments

A staff member of Bulgaria’s State Agency for Technical Operations, which is in charge of electronic surveillance, is facing criminal charges for disclosing classified information, allegedly including accepting payment for telling people whether their phones were tapped.

Vladimir Pisanchev, head of the State Agency for National Security, said on February 18 2014 that the damage done by the employee was “huge” because it affected national security.

The Prosecutor-General’s office identified the employee as Antonia Purvanova.

Allegedly, she had accepted from 500 to 3000 leva (about 250 to 1500 euro) to run checks whether individuals were the subjects of surveillance.

The investigation that led to Purvanova’s arrest was conducted from November 5 to December 31 2013.

According to prosecutors, there were no politicians among those who allegedly paid for the service, but there were high-profile people.

Sofia City Prosecutor Hristo Dinev said that there was evidence that certain people had a “monthly subscription” to receive information about whether their telephones were being tapped, if so, which service was doing the surveillance, and what information had been obtained.

Prosecutors said that Purvanova had been in the post since 2010.

“She has hindered many investigations and has been taking out classified information many times. There have been accomplices, too – close relatives of hers,” Dinev said.

The current version of the body in charge of electronic eavesdropping was created in 2013 amid controversies about alleged law-breaking by senior politicians regarding unlawful wiretapping. These allegations have been levelled against Tsvetan Tsvetanov, interior minister in the former centre-right government from 2009 to early 2013. The current Bulgarian Socialist Party government came to power at the end of May 2013.

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