Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office said on July 31 that it has filed charges against Tsvetan Tsvetanov for refusing to authorise wire-tapping as part of a police investigation.
Tsvetanov, the former interior minister and deputy prime minister in the Boiko Borissov cabinet, has already been formally charged with alleged failure to exercise oversight over the use wiretaps by the Interior Ministry during his time in office.
The latest accusations stem from a prosecution investigation of Stanimir Florov, who was head the ministry’s chief directorate for combatting organised crime (CDCOC) until his resignation in May. As part of the investigation, the prosecution has collected sufficient evidence to indict Tsvetanov as well, the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
(Florov was suspended, in April, when the Prosecutor’s Office opened its investigation after Bulgarian media were emailed copies of confidential reports showing that Florov had been the target of investigations by Bulgarian intelligence services, between 1999 and 2002, on suspicion of accepting bribes in exchange for alerting alleged criminals of investigations against them.)
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Tsvetanov denied use of wire-taps against Orlin Todorov, head of the Veliko Turnovo unit of the CDCOC, which prevented the collection of evidence against Todorov. As interior minister, it was Tsvetanov’s duty to authorise the wire-taps after a court order had been issued, the prosecution said.
Tsvetanov was charged under article 288 of Bulgaria’s Penal code, which says that any official “who fails to fulfil in due time the functions required by the office regarding the criminal proceedings, or in any other way frustrates such proceedings with the purpose of releasing another from a punishment due for him by a law shall be punished by imprisonment of one to six years.”
In the other investigation against him, Tsvetanov was charged under article 285 of the Penal Code, which says that any official that deliberately allows a subordinate to commit a crime is equally culpable for that crime. In Tsvetanov’s case, that is failure to ensure that the officials in charge of wiretapping carried out their duties – namely creating the necessary guidelines for the use of surveillance equipment.
(Tsvetan Tsvetanov. Photo: gerb.bg)