Prosecutor-General requests probe after Russophile leader accused of spying allowed to leave Bulgaria

Written by on November 4, 2019 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Prosecutor-General requests probe after Russophile leader accused of spying allowed to leave Bulgaria

The Prosecutor-General has alerted the Inspectorate of the Supreme Judicial Council and the head of the Special Criminal Court after Nikolai Malinov, the leader of the Russophile Movement who faces criminal charges of espionage, was allowed by a court to leave Bulgaria to visit Russia.

Malinov, who is out on bail of 50 000 leva (about 25 000 euro), is subject to a ban on leaving Bulgaria.

The Prosecutor’s Office said that on October 21, an application had been lodged in the Special Criminal Court by advocates Dimitar Vulchev and Luchezar Takov for permission for Malinov to attend events in Russia from November 1 to 5.

“It is stated that the specific reason for this application are events for the period November 1 to 5 2019 in Russia, organised by the ‘Russkiy Mir’ (‘Russian Peace’) Fund and the International Slavic Union, to which Malinov has been invited to participate and to receive a government prize, as well as an invitation for a similar event at the end of November 2019,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The application from Malinov’s counsel was sent to the Special Prosecutor’s Office on October 23. The proceeding was referred to court on October 28 and on the same day, Judge Andon Mitalov issued an order allowing Malinov to leave Bulgaria from November 1 to 5, which was sent to the Border Police.

However, the Prosecutor’s Office said, for such permission to have been granted, the accused or his counsel should have applied to the supervising prosecutor within the statutory time limit. The court had granted the request directly.

It was for this reason that Tsatsarov had requested an inspection of the handling of the case, the statement said.

Malinov was charged in September 2019 under Article 105 of Bulgaria’s Penal Code.

This article says: “A person who places himself in service of a foreign state or a foreign organisation in order to serve it as a spy…shall be punished by imprisonment for five to 15 years”. Malinov has denied wrongdoing.

At the same time, Bulgaria banned former KGB general Leonid Reshetnikov – a figure close to Vladimir Putin – from entering Bulgaria for 10 years. Tsatsarov told Parliament that the head of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security has imposed a 10-year ban on Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeev entering the country.

(Photo of Tsatsarov: prb.bg)

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