Bulgarian prosecutors put controversial judge on wanted list

Bulgaria’s prosecutor’s office said on April 14 that it put Roumyana Chenalova, the judge at the centre of a controversy about a bankruptcy hearing that has re-ignited debate about the state of Bulgaria’s judiciary, on the wanted list after she failed to appear at a scheduled meeting with investigators.

Chenalova was suspended as a judge in Sofia City Court for six months in January 2015 as a result of disciplinary proceedings into her handling of the Belvedere case, involving bankruptcy proceedings regarding two Bulgarian subsidiaries of a French firm, which led France’s ambassador in Sofia, Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes, to allege in a television interview that there were “rotten apples” in Bulgaria’s judiciary.

Allegations against Chenalova also included claims that she was culpable for delayed rulings in about 50 cases, showed bias in dealing with the Belvedere case, and, according to media reports, had not conducted herself properly in dealing with a case involving SAPARD funds. Chenalova denied wrongdoing.

Investigators opened a pre-trial investigation against Chenalova, on charges of malfeasance in office and document fraud, in February, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. As part of the investigation, she was subpoenaed to meet with investigators, but failed to appear citing illness, the statement said.

After questioning Chenalova’s physician, who said that the illness was not severe enough to prevent her from leaving home, and after being unable to find Chenalova at her registered addresses in Sofia and Stara Zagora, prosecutors ordered putting Chenalova on the nationwide wanted list, the statement said.

(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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