Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Asks Sanctions in Foiled SAPARD Trial
Bulgaria's new Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, asked Thursday for sanctions against Appellate Prosecutor, Angel Iliev, over the way he had distributed prosecutors in the high-profile SAPARD case.
Tsatsarov insists Iliev had a choice between four prosecutors to handle the trial.
Just days ago, Appellate Prosecutor, Stoycho Nenkov, was charged with abuse of power and obstruction of justice in foiling the prosecution of the defendants in the SAPARD case – Mario Nikolov and Lyudmil Stoykov.
On October 11, 2012, Nenkov stepped back from his protest of the acquittal of businessman Mario Nikolov and the other defendants in the country's highly publicized SAPARD money laundering case.
They were charged with participating in an organized crime group engaged in laundering EUR 7.5 M drained from the EU agriculture program SAPARD.
Nenkov's move fully cleared the defendants of all charges, bringing to an end a strongly politicized trial, which was closely monitored by the European Commission.
It emerged later that Nenkov has decided on his own to not file an appeal and will be probed. The Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, the Inspectorate of the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassations, and the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office were notified.
Nenkov, on his part, insists he made the decision based on his own conviction, without any outside pressure.
His decision triggered strong criticism on the part of then interim Chief Prosecutor, Boyko Naydenov, and the wrath of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.