Bulgaria’s former PM Borissov ‘taken into custody’ – reports

The former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boiko Borissov, was allegedly arrested on the night of March 17, Bulgarian media said, citing unnamed official Interior Ministry sources.

There was no indication of on what charges Borissov, leader of the largest opposition party in Bulgaria’s current National Assembly, had been arrested, or for how long he had been taken in custody.

Bulgarian media, again citing unnamed Interior Ministry official sources, said that others taken into custody included former finance minister Vladislav Goranov and a former head of Parliament’s committee on finance, Menda Stoyanova, as well as the former head of Borissov’s head of communications, Sevdalina Arnaudova.

There was no sustained official confirmation of these figures being taken into custody, though the incidents led to a hubbub outside Borissov’s home in the Sofia district of Bankya, with loyalists of Borissov’s GERB party shouting “resign!”

Borissov had for some months been the subject of allegations, after visual images emerged of what was purported to be his bedroom, with a sleeping then-PM seen close by to bedside drawers purported to show large amounts of euro, what appeared to be gold ingots, and a large-calibre pistol.

Media reports said European prosecutors were investigating 120 cases of alleged EU funds fraud in Bulgaria, but it was not clear whether the events on the night of March 17 were connected to any such investigation.

Siika Mileva, the spokesperson for Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev, said that the prosecutor’s office had not been notified of the Interior Ministry’s actions.

On Facebook, Bulgaria’s current Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov, whose We Continue the Change party got the largest share of votes in the country’s most recent early parliamentary elections on an anti-corruption platform, said: “No one is above the law”.

The action came at the close of a two-day visit to Bulgaria of European chief prosecutor Laura Kövesi, to whom a large number of allegations of serious wrongdoing have been forwarded by Bulgaria’s current authorities, bypassing the controversial Prosecutor-General Geshev, whom the current government sees as an obstacle to fighting corruption and establishing the rule of law of Bulgaria. Some Bulgarian media linked the reports of the action to her visit.

Amid the late-night lack of clarity, compounded by uncertainty in media reports, there was no official statement whether Borissov and the others were in custody or not, or, again, on what charges. Loyalists, including former government ministers, from his GERB party, who gathered outside his Bankya home, claimed that this was “political repression”.

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