Bulgarian court acquits former interior minister on embezzlement charges
The Sofia City Court said on May 26 that it found Tsvetan Tsvetanov, MP for opposition party GERB who served as interior minister in Boiko Borissov’s cabinet, not guilty on charges of embezzlement.
This is the first of three court cases pressed against Tsvetanov by prosecutors over the past year, a period that saw the socialists replace GERB in government and begin a massed campaign of “cleaning the state administration of GERB appointees” (as the socialists and their allies described the effort).
In this case, Tsvetanov stood accused of embezzlement and abuse of office for authorising the payment of 50 000 leva for Orlin Todorov, the former head of the Veliko Turnovo unit of the interior ministry’s chief directorate for combatting organised crime (CDCOC), despite Todorov being under arrest and investigation.
The charges were pressed in November 2013 and, in its final plea last week, the prosecutor’s office asked for five-year imprisonment sentence. The prosecution said that it would appeal the verdict.
Speaking to reporters after the court issued its ruling, Tsvetanov said that he did not wish to comment extensively on the verdict, but said that “I never thought that an innocent man could be convicted.”
In the other two lawsuits against Tsvetanov, he is charged with alleged failure to exercise oversight over the use wiretaps by the Interior Ministry during his time in office and for refusing to authorise wire-tapping as part of a police investigation.
The news compounds a miserable 24 hours for the socialists – who have vociferously attacked Tsvetanov both in and outside Parliament – after the party fell well short of its goal of winning the European Parliament elections, held in Bulgaria on May 25.
(Tsvetan Tsvetanov. Photo: Council of the EU)