Bulgarian top judge refuses to travel in national protection service cars after loose bolts incident

The president of Bulgaria’s Supreme Court of Cassation, Lozan Panov, is refusing to travel in National Protection Service cars after prosecutors declined to initiate pre-trial proceedings over an incident in which a car he was travelling in was found to have loose tyre bolts.

Panov, who heads the court that is supreme in all civil and criminal trials in Bulgaria, announced his decision to reporters on June 20, the day after the Military Prosecutor’s Office issued its findings and declined to take matters further.

On June 1, Panov was on a 174km round trip from Sofia to Berkovitsa when the Mercedes S class official vehicle in which he was travelling was found to have two bolts missing and three loose on its rear left tyre.

Panov informed the head of the National Protection Service, General Angel Antonov, suspecting that this was an assassination attempt.

The Military Prosecutor’s Office said in its June 19 statement that the bolts either had been shaken loose through the car being driven, or Panov’s driver had loosened them himself. There is no evidence for the latter and Panov told reporters that he knew the driver personally and did not believe this theory.

Panov said that he found it “strange” that the National Protection Service could offer the use of an S class where the bolts could come loose and had decided not to use the service’s cars, but rather those of the Supreme Court of Cassation, as he had done on June 20.




The Sofia Globe staff

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