Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office said on February 4 that it has filed the indictment against Filip Zlatanov, the former chairperson of the government’s commission on preventing conflict of interest, on charges of abuse of power. Zlatanov faces a possible jail term of up to 10 years if he is found guilty.
Between September 2012 and July 2013, Zlatanov failed to exercise his duties and overstepped his powers with a view of benefitting third parties or causing damage, the prosecution said in a statement. As a result of his actions, public trust in the commission’s activity has been shaken, the prosecutors said..
Zlatanov has been under investigation since July last year, when prosecutors searched two properties owned by Zlatanov and the commission’s offices. Evidence seized during those raids included a personal notebook, in which Zlatanov put down “directives” concerning which commission investigations he should delay and those that should be pursued more actively.
The biggest name on that list is that of President Rossen Plevneliev. In a statement, the presidency’s press office said at the time that, in September 2012, the commission asked Plevneliev to provide proof that he had quit executive positions in the private sector prior to his appointment as Regional Development Minister in 2009. The presidency said that Plevneliev submitted the evidence requested, even though such information was publicly available in the Commercial Register.
Other people on the list included former ministers, former MPs, constitutional judge nominees and senior magistrates.
Politicians from Bulgaria’s ruling axis have accused Zlatanov of carrying out the orders of the previous administration (that of centre-right party GERB, now in opposition). Zlatanov has denied that he had “carried out outside directives” and told Bulgarian National Television that he had no recollection of the notes he took in the notebook found by prosecutors.
(Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television)