Bulgaria Asks British Experts for Help in Notorious Spy Case

Crime | August 26, 2013, Monday // 11:17
Bulgaria Asks British Experts for Help in Notorious Spy Case: Bulgaria Asks British Experts for Help in Notorious Spy Case The notorious Chrysler minivan, allegedly used for illegal police spying, photo by BGNES

The Sofia City Prosecutor's Office has sent a legal inquiry to Great Britain in Bulgaria's infamous "illegal snooping" case against former Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

According to the Bulgarian Pressa (Press) daily the Bulgarian Prosecutors are asking British experts to see if they could reinstate the deleted recordings of wiretapped conversations. Their help has been requested because the notorious Chrysler Voyager minivan, allegedly used by Tsvetanov and several subordinates to conduct mass unauthorized spying, has been manufactured in Great Britain.

A picture of the minivan 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.

Nevertheless, the Chrysler Voyager van was seized by the Prosecutor's Office for their probe in the anonymous tipoff of mass illegal spying on senior politicians, wealthy businessmen, and journalists, submitted by the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and former PM, Sergey Stanishev.

It was also reported that policemen from the Interior Ministry Technology Unit, SDOTO, have hastily deleted the recordings after the Chrysler made headlines.

Meanwhile, the Bulgarian "Trud" (Labor) daily wrote that Prof Evegeniy Nikolov, who was the expert examining the Chrysler Voyager has died in a traffic accident on July 17.

Nikolov was the Director of the National Lab for Computer Viruses at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS.

He died just one month after Tsvetanov was legally charged with allowing unauthorized mass use of Special Surveillance Devices, SRS.

The probe in the case is still ongoing, and, according to sources from the Prosecutor's Office, the delay is largely attributed to Nikolov's sudden death and the subsequent lack of expert report proving the van has been used for spying.

On Sunday, Gen Atanas Atanasov from the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, DSB, and former director of the intelligence agency, stated the sudden death was suspicious and disturbing.

The former Interior Minister, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the now-opposition, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, insists he is innocent, stressing the charges are groundless as every former and future Interior Ministry head could face similar ones.

Tsvetanov is also charged on a different count – obstruction of justice.

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Tags: Britisn, Grear Britain, Prof Evgeniy Nikolov, BAS, Chrysler Voyager, Border Police, DANS, SDOTO, SRS, BSP, Interior Minister, Sergey Stanishev, Prosecutor's Office, corruption, Motorola, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, wiretapping, special surveillance devices, Gen Atanas Atanasov, National Security Service, intelligence, GERB, experts

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