A report on French-German television network Arte TV on anti-corruption protests in Bulgaria showed some of the extensive properties said to be linked to Delyan Peevski – but security guards and police intervened during filming and an attempt was made to pressure a Bulgarian cameraman so that the footage would not be shown, reports said.
Shown on January 10, the Arte TV report showed journalist Nikolai Staykov, whose has researched property holdings linked to Peevski and his media-owning mother Irina Krasteva, pointing out some of the properties.
But, Arte reported – with accompanying footage – while Staykov wanted to show more of an hotel, security guards prevented filming and, after another property was chosen, police arrived and checked the identity cards of the Bulgarians in the team. Hidden camera footages showed the police checking IDs and questioning the occupants of the car used by reporting team.
Subsequently, the Bulgarian cameraman, not identified in the Arte report but who is said to be an employee of a local television station, received a phone call that sought to pressure him to prevent the footage being aired.
Allegedly, police informed Peevski about the footage and he did not want reports about himself.
It was the appointment of Peevski in June 2013 as the head of the State Agency for National Security that unleashed mass public protests demanding the resignation of the Bulgarian Socialist Party government. Peevski, whom the Constitutional Court has ruled remains an MP in spite of his short-lived election as head of SANS, “has become the personification of the mafia methods and the lack of morality in politics,” the Arte report said.
On January 12, local media reported that Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev had said that “things were not quite as presented”.
The private security company used by Peevski had called emergency hotline 112 twice to tell local police that individuals were filming the road approaching Peevski’s properties, and the properties. The actions of the Interior Ministry were limited to responding to the call and no information had been provided to Peevski or anyone else, Yovchev was quoted as saying.
Peevski earlier had been offered state protection services because a threat against him had been identified, but he had declined them and was using private security, Yovchev said.
The Arte report, covered by a number of Bulgarian-language media, said that Bulgarians who had turned out nightly for many months of protests had not given up hope on the European Union helping them, but for now they had only themselves to rely on.
(Archive photo of a June 15 2013 protest after Peevski’s appointment as head of SANS: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)