Veliko Turnovo anti-mafia chief leaked wiretaps, state secrets to businessman and media, court hears

The former head of the territorial directorate of the National Directorate for Combating Organised Crime in the Bulgarian city of Veliko Turnovo consistently leaked state secrets, including information obtained through wiretaps, to a businessman he addressed as “boss”, a court has been told.

Orlin Todorov, who headed the anti-mafia squad in the city, was arrested in March 2011 and held in custody for several months before being transferred to house arrest. He was later released on bail.

It is alleged that Todorov kept his close friend, businessman Petar Hristov, informed about various of Bulgaria’s investigations into organised crime groups – those well-known to the public by codenames such as “Killers” and “Counterfeiters”. Todorov is said to have addressed Hristov as “boss” and accepted advice from him on how investigations should proceed.

Todorov allegedly also leaked to a journalist from the national Bulgarian-language media wiretaps of doctors who supposedly concealed the death of a baby at a hospital in Gorna Oryahovitsa.

The story about the infant’s death, reported under the headline “Baby in a freezer” became even more of a national cause célèbre when Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov read out in Parliament a transcript of the dialogue among the doctors. Prosecutors declined to act against Tsvetanov for himself breaking the law on publicly disclosing information obtained by special surveillance means. An investigation into the baby’s death eventually found that the baby had been stillborn.

When the hearing began at a court in Veliko Turnovo on October 8, prosecutors and defence asked the court to order all proceedings to be in camera, on the grounds, respectively, that evidence would disclose state secrets and that Todorov already had been traumatised by proceedings, which would be worsened by evidence about his personal life being made public in open court.

The court, however, declined the application and said that only evidence with a direct bearing on state secrets and evidence related to the accused’s personal life would be heard behind closed doors.

The charge sheet against Todorov, running to several dozen pages and read out in court, also said that reporters in Veliko Turnovo had been given information about the addresses of two brothers, Ivelin and Vladimir Shishkov, who earlier had been arrested inBelgiumon charges of human trafficking.

Charges also include forcing officials to commit breaches of duty in connection with the administration of justice.

More than 100 witnesses and seven expert witnesses are scheduled to be heard in the course of the trial.

Written evidence in the trial adds up to 34 volumes, local media said. If found guilty, Todorov could be jailed for up to 10 years.





The Sofia Globe staff

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