Bulgarian former intelligence chief 10-year sentence upheld on appeal

Bulgaria’s military appeals court ruled on May 20 to uphold the guilty verdict against the former head of the National Intelligence Service, General Kircho Kirov, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for embezzling 4.7 million leva (about 2.4 million euro) over a period of five years.

Details about the lawsuit were limited, as the case was heard behind closed doors given the confidential nature of the information discussed. Prosecutors charged Kirov with falsifying 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.

The appellate court ruled to acquit Kirov on charges of document fraud and reduced his ban on holding office to 13 years, specialist judiciary news website Legalworld.bg reported.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Kirov diverted the funds from the National Intelligence Service during the 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.

Bulgarian media have described Kirov as a close ally of Purvanov’s – whose socialist splinter ABC was a minority partners backing the coalition government led by Borissov until it pulled out last week – 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 has claimed 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.

(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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