Chavdar Nikolov has threatened legal action if he is sacked as a result of the controversy stirred by Olympic weightlifting champion Gulubin Boevski’s return from Brazil, where he was sentenced to nine years and four months imprisonment last year on charges of attempted drug trafficking.
Boevski returned to Sofia on September 23, to the dismay of Bulgarian authorities, which were caught unaware of his expulsion from Brazil. Nikolov was recalled to Sofia to face a disciplinary hearing, after which Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin said that Nikolov would be sacked for “undermining the prestige of state institutions” and failing to notify Sofia of Boevski’s impending return.
In an open letter to the media late on November 8, Nikolov says that it is Vigenin who is undermining Bulgarian diplomacy by “publicly condemning an ambassador that is well-received both by the local institutions and the Bulgarian community.”
Nikolov says that his impending sacking – ambassadors are appointed and recalled by presidential decree at the request of the Cabinet – aims to shift attention from “the real issue that interests society, namely why Boevski and many other Bulgarian citizens, found guilty of drug trafficking in Brazil and not only there, return to Bulgaria as free people before the end of their sentences.”
Nikolov claims to have repeatedly made suggestions for a bilateral agreement with Brazil since his appointment last year, which have not been followed up. He says that the embassy carried out its duties in issuing travelling papers to Boevski.
In conclusion, Nikolov says that he’s prepared to undertake legal action to “defend my reputation”, but does not give further details.
(Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Phoo: mfa.bg)