Bulgaria Purchased 'Spying' Equipment with Schengen Funds

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | April 19, 2013, Friday // 14:59
Bulgaria Purchased 'Spying' Equipment with Schengen Funds: Bulgaria Purchased 'Spying' Equipment with Schengen Funds The notorious Chrysler minivan, allegedly used for illegal police spying, turned out to be a private vehicle, as the owner claimed. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Finance Ministry has purchased in February 2010 mobile wiretapping technology for the Interior Ministry, using financing under the Schengen program.

The Bulgaria Sega (Now) daily writes Friday that the amount of the money spent on the purchase was BGN 1.5 M.

This equipment allows spying on incoming and outgoing phone calls, and on short text messages, and provides real identification data about "the target."

Two days ago, the Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary, Kalin Georgiev, in two interviews, rejected claims the technology allowed voice recording. He was summoned for interrogation by the Prosecutor's Office over discrepancies between his account before the investigators and his statements for the media.

On March 28, Sergey Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), submitted a tipoff to Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, about illegal wiretapping of politicians, businessmen and magistrates which had taken place during Tsvetan Tsvetanov's term in office as Interior Minister in the GERB Cabinet.

On Monday, in reporting the results from the probe, Tsatsarov stated that two thirds of Stanishev's information have been confirmed.

He said pre-trial proceedings had been opened against three directors at the Specialized Directorate Technical Operations of the Interior Ministry and one employee of the unit.

Tsatsarov also explained that important information related to the case had been deleted in a bid to sabotage the probe, adding the prosecutors would try to recover the lost data.

The head of the special surveillance unit of Bulgaria's police, together with a director from the unit, were temporarily released from duty until the end of investigations against them. 

The Chief Prosecutor assured the probe was continuing and Tsvetanov's work and involvement will also be probed.

A picture of the notorious minivan, allegedly used for spying, was sent to the media by an amateur photographer, who spotted it in downtown Sofia. It shows a Chrysler having numerous antennas on the top. The owner, however, came forward and said it was a private vehicle and the antennas were just his hobby.

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Tags: technology, equipment, Schengen, funds, Chrysler, minivan, illegal, police, spying, GERB, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Roman Vassilev, Nikolay Kokinov, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Sergey Stanishev, wiretapping, interior ministry, Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, interior ministry, Chief Secretary, Kalin Georgiev, special surveillance devices, SRS
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