Sofia City Prosecutor Nikolai Kokinov submitted his resignation to Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov on April 26, a few hours after several Bulgarian media received, from an unidentified source, recordings purportedly of Kokinov, Boiko Borissov and former minister Miroslav Naidenov discussing how to influence the course of a corruption and abuse-of-office investigation into Naidenov.
The Prosecutor-General’s office said that Kokinov had resigned because of the media reports about the alleged conversations. The office said that it had been presented with recordings and transcripts of the conversations by Pik news agency editor Dilyana Dimitrova.
The Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s office has initiated an investigation into the recordings to establish whether they are authentic and whether they constitute evidence of an attempt to obstruct the course of justice.
The Supreme Judicial Council called for a thorough and urgent investigation into the recordings, saying that it would make the findings public. Whether the recordings were genuine or had been manipulated, the episode was damaging to the reputation of the judiciary and the Bulgarian state, the Supreme Judicial Council said.
The Kokinov resignation on April 26 was the latest twist in a drama around alleged illegal eavesdropping that currently is dominating the contest ahead of Bulgaria’s May 12 2013 national parliamentary elections.
Borissov, leader of centre-right former ruling party GERB and prime minister from 2009 to 2013, has like his election campaign chief and former interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov countered that the allegations of illegal eavesdropping while Tsvetanov was in office are a carefully-co-ordinated campaign to damage GERB in the elections.
On April 25, Naidenov, who was agriculture minister in the Borissov government, was expelled from GERB after saying on live television that Tsvetanov had been behind illegal electronic surveillance of all of Borissov’s cabinet ministers and Borissov himself.
But Borissov backed up Tsvetanov, saying that the former interior minister had sworn to him “on his children” that the allegations of unlawful surveillance were untrue.
On April 26, Borissov repeated his characterisation of the eavesdropping controversy as a smear campaign linked to the elections, but also was quoted as saying that those behind the controversy had had the impudence even to wiretap his Bankya house.
(Photo of Kokinov: BNT)