Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security (SANS) said on November 8 that it would probe whether any information concerning the investigation of former MP Hristo Biserov had been leaked.
A day after the announcement that Biserov was to be investigated on suspicion of money laundering, tax crimes and document fraud, the news caused a heated exchange in the country’s Parliament.
Opposition party GERB used the National Assembly’s pulpit to accuse the ruling axis – which includes the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), the party where he was deputy leader until his resignation on November 3 – of knowing about the impending investigation against Biserov.
MRF leader Lyutfi Mestan retaliated by accusing GERB MP and former interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov of disclosing confidential information – on November 7, Tsvetanov told reporters in Parliament that the investigation against Biserov was linked to financial flows in bank accounts abroad; his statement, however, came before the prosecutor’s office made the same announcement.
On November 8, Tsvetanov said that SANS clearly had a leak and claimed that officials from the agency had been tipped off before the data was passed to prosecutor-general Sotir Tsatsarov.
Mestan has already denied the speculation in local media that the party’s leadership asked Biserov to resign, saying that he and the party’s honorary chairman Ahmed Dogan were surprised by Biserov’s resignation.
SANS director Vladimir Pisanchev has denied another conspiracy theory making the rounds in Bulgarian media, namely that Biserov’s resignation had anything to do with the South Stream pipeline. Work on the project, promoted heavily by Russia, started in Bulgaria on October 31 with a ceremonial welding in the northeast of the country.
“The investigation against Hristo Biserov has nothing to do with South Stream. At least, the data that we have shows no ties between Biserov and South Stream,” Pisanchev was quoted as saying.
Pisanchev denied the claims that an agency official met with Dogan – MRF’s founder that stepped down as party chairman earlier this year but is said to remain influential behind the scenes – to notify Dogan of the investigation.
Nevertheless, SANS would investigate whether the agency had a leak, but implied that if there was one, it was at the Chief Directorate for Combatting Organised Crime – the directorate was part of the Interior Ministry until the reshuffle in the secret services earlier this summer, when it was transferred under SANS’ authority.
(Photo of Hristo Biserov on an MRF campaign poster: dps.bg)