Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev, facing calls from the ruling majority to step down, has arranged for the Prime Minister and his chief of staff to be invited to provide names and evidence of those whom PM Kiril Petkov says are behind economic crimes and corruption in the country.
This was announced by the Prosecutor’s Office on February 7 as a follow-up to February 4 meeting between Geshev and Petkov.
At that meeting, Geshev asked the government not to proceed with its plans to shut down the specialized prosecution and court, a request Petkov refused, according to statements by the Prosecutor’s Office and the government.
The government, in office since December 2021, has expressed determination to proceed with judicial reform, including restructuring the Prosecutor’s Office and the anti-corruption commission, which it says have been failing in their tasks.
The February 7 statement by the Prosecutor’s Office said that Geshev had referred Petkov’s allegations to the Deputy Prosecutor-General to follow up.
“In order to clarify the completeness of the information provided, Mr Kiril Petkov and (PM’s chief of staff) Ms Lena Borislavova will be invited to appear at the Supreme Administrative Court in order to provide a complete list of persons named during the meeting, as well as data and evidence, respectively, about any crimes or violations committed by the same persons,” the statement said.
It said that the Prosecutor’s Office would fulfil its obligations and would carry out “an objective and comprehensive inspection of the persons named by the Prime Minister Mr Kiril Petkov and Ms Lena Borislavova”.
Meanwhile, the anti-corruption commission – headed by Sotir Tsatsarov, whose resignation takes effect on March 1 – said that it had invited Justice Minister Nadezhda Yordanova to be interviewed on February 8 in connection with the commission’s investigation into Geshev. The commission announced the investigation on January 31.
The commission said that it had asked the Justice Ministry for certified copies of the documents and other relevant information regarding the allegations against Geshev, but had not received them.
Yordanova has said in media interviews that there were numerous allegations against Geshev, both in his current capacity and from before then.
In the early evening of February 7, it was announced that Yordanova had declined to be interviewed by the anti-corruption commission.
On February 8, Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the question whether the Justice Minister may propose to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) the ahead-of-term dismissal of the presidents of Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court and the Prosecutor-General.
In 2021, then-caretaker Minister of Justice Yanaki Stoilov sent a request to the SJC for the dismissal of Geshev as Prosecutor-General, but the SJC declined to consider it, saying that the Justice Minister was not entitled to make such a request. This led to the application to the Constitutional Court to rule on the issue.
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