Bulgarian former intelligence chief handed 10-year sentence for embezzlement

Sofia Military Court sentenced the former head of the National Intelligence Service, General Kircho Kirov, to 10 years in jail for embezzling 4.7 million leva (about 2.4 million euro) over a period of five years, it emerged on August 7.

Details about the lawsuit were limited, as the case was heard behind closed doors given the confidential nature of the information discussed, but prosecutors said earlier that Kirov had falsified documents – more than 1000 of them – to justify expenses for operations that never took place.

The court also ordered seizing Kirov’s assets to pay off the separate 4.7 million leva civil lawsuit lodged by the National Intelligence Service, and Kirov was also banned from holding any official position involving the handling of finances for a period of 15 years.

According to prosecutors, who pressed charges in July 2013, Kirov diverted the funds from the National Intelligence Service during 2007-2011 period. An appointee of former president Georgi Purvanov, Kirov was the head of the service between February 2003 and January 2012, after which he served briefly as an adviser on security issues to Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, during the latter’s first term as head of government.

News website Mediapool.bg said that Kirov was a close ally of Purvanov’s – whose socialist splinter ABC is one of three minority partners in the current coalition government led by Borissov – and claimed that Kirov was one of the biggest opponents to releasing communist-era State Security archive files Bulgaria’s dossiers commission during his term as head of the intelligence service.

Kirov has denied the charges against him and, speaking to Bulgarian National Radio on August 7, blamed the court’s ruling on “today’s political conjuncture inside and outside the country, especially the demands imposed on our country by outside factors.”

He said that the trial was politically-motivated and carried out at the behest of current leadership of the intelligence agency and senior politicians in Borissov’s party, GERB. He said that he planned to appeal the ruling.

(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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