Court to Announce Verdict of ex-IntMin After EU Elections
The verdict of Bulgaria's former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is being tried for embezzlement, could be announced on May 26, the day after European elections.
Awaiting the Sofia City Court's ruling, and hours after the Prosecuting Authority requested a five-year-sentence for him, Tsvetanov surprisingly issued an apology to "the Bulgarian court" over all the criticism he voiced at it while being Interior Minister.
Tsvetanov, however, did not specify whether he was referring to Sofia City Court or to the judiciary in general, which has often been a target of his remarks.
"I can only apologize to the Bulgarian court for all those conclusions of mine I drew from what was happening in court-rooms just because I was not a first-hand witness," he was quoted by Mediapool as saying after Thursday's hearing on his trial.
"If the defense of state prosecution was really like what we saw today, I must say I did cross the line and did assess the work of the Bulgarian court without being prepared. Today I am attending pleas for the first time, and I am regrettably on one side of the barricade," he added.
Tsvetanov has been charged with large-scale embezzling to the tune of BGN 50 000 from the budget of the Interior Ministry.
The sum was embezzled to the benefit of another person, Orlin Todorov, former head of the anti-mafia unit (GDBOP, the Interior Ministry's Chief Directorate Combating Organized Crime) in Veliko Tarnovo.
The prosecuting authority pressed embezzlement charges against Tsvetanov on November 22, 2013.
Tsvetanov is believed to have embezzled the money from the budget of the Interior Ministry in the period December 23, 2011 – May 2012 with a view to securing a profit for Orlin Todorov.
Apart from hearing the Sofia City Court's verdict on Monday, Tsvetanov is also to attend pleas over another charge on Thursday, which could also result in a sentence.
Another trial against him is yet to kick off on Friday upon charges of illegal surveillance. He has pleaded not guilty on all charges, with his defense insisting they are politically motivated.
During his term in office as Interior Minister in Boyko Borisov's government, Tsvetanov was among the most outspoken critic of Bulgaria's judiciary, calling for thorough changes to be carried out if its work is to be improved.
Those dissenting the then-ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB)'s policies in the field of judiciary often said the cabinet was trying to exert pressure over magistrates and to meddle into their affairs, including by "cadre management".