Bulgaria: Borislav Sarafov was Elected as Acting Chief Prosecutor (UPDATED)

Politics | June 16, 2023, Friday // 19:18
Bulgaria: Bulgaria: Borislav Sarafov was Elected as Acting Chief Prosecutor (UPDATED) Borislav Sarafov

The head of the national investigation, Borislav Sarafov, was elected acting chief prosecutor. This happened at an extraordinary meeting of the prosecutor's collegium. They supported the proposal for Sarafov with 8 votes "in favor", one "against".

It was convened after President Rumen Radev signed the decree for Ivan Geshev's release on June 15. Three of Geshev's deputies agreed to participate - Borislav Sarafov, Desislava Pironeva and Daniela Masheva.

The Prosecution College also accepted that the decision of the Judicial Council can be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court and allowed preliminary implementation of the decision, i.e. Sarafov is now acting chief prosecutor. Sarafov demanded the resignation of former chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev and entered into a direct conflict with him. Sarafov also reported him to the prosecutor's office. There are also reports against Sarafov in the Supreme Court of Cassation, where they can be filed under the new mechanism for the investigation of the chief prosecutor.

"We are really in a special situation, the prosecutor's office cannot be left without a person who is the chief prosecutor. All candidates meet the requirements for seniority, as deputies also meet high standards to be in this position," said Ognyan Damyanov, who announced that he would support Sarafov

Plamen Naydenov, who voted against Geshev's removal, proposed and stated that he would support Daniela Masheva's candidacy.

In front of the members of the collegium, Sarafov stated that "I express my gratitude for the high trust, I am aware of the responsibility I have in front of my colleagues and in front of society. People saw that in the last month, the prosecutor's office was used in favor of Geshev's personal interest".

According to him, in recent days it has been seen how the prosecutor's office can be used as a weapon against the inconvenient, including himself. The former head of the national investigation, Sarafov emphasized that the reports against him were fabricated by the former chief prosecutor.

After the election, when asked by journalists, Sarafov said that he might reconsider the grounds for some of the requested immunities.

Who is Borislav Sarafov?

Sarafov has been the deputy of the chief prosecutor and head of the national investigation for more than 10 years. In 2013, he became the deputy of Sotir Tsatsarov, after being a candidate together with him for the post of chief prosecutor. Then he gathered very few votes, and even some of the people of the then composition of the judicial council did not support his candidacy.

Before that, he was a prosecutor in the Sofia District Prosecutor's Office, Supreme Administrative and Cassation Prosecutor's Office. In 2011, he became the head of the Appellate Specialized Prosecutor's Office.

At the end of May, photos were anonymously sent to the media, in which the deputy chief prosecutor and director of the National Investigation Service Borislav Sarafov and the former head of the Sofia Investigation Petyo Petrov, as well as other acting prosecutors, were seen sitting at the same table анд shaking hands. Sarafov confirmed the authenticity of the photo, but justified that he was photographed during an accidental visit to the "Eight Dwarfs" restaurant, where he was invited by the chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev, without himself appearing. Sarafov dated the meeting to about three years ago and stated that in fact Geshev regularly went to the restaurant.

The anti-corruption fund reported that after receiving the photos, it referred the prosecutor's office for a covert investigation against Sarafov in connection with the "Eight Dwarfs" case. The case has been known since June 2020. So far, it is not known whether it was seriously investigated, there are no punishments, and no accused. On the contrary, the Supreme Judicial Council has twice so far refused to fire the chief prosecutor for inaction in several cases, including the "Eight Dwarfs".

WCC-DB called on Borislav Sarafov to immediately resign as acting Prosecutor General

The coalition "We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria" (WCC-DB) calls on Acting chief prosecutor Borislav Sarafov to resign immediately. Otherwise, the Minister of Justice Atanas Slavov will take all possible actions to review the decision on the election of Sarafov, states the WCC-DB's position regarding today's election of Borislav Sarafov as acting chief prosecutor.

The position of WCC-DB states that Bulgaria needs a real judicial reform, and the replacement of Geshev with Sarafov is a farce, not a reform.

"There is no doubt that Mr. Geshev did not possess the high moral and professional qualities to hold the position of chief prosecutor. That is why his removal was long necessary. But the election of his deputy instead of meeting the public's expectations for transparency and fairness of the procedure, happened again with vicious haste and secrecy," the coalition also states.

According to WCC-DB, the scandals that broke out in the prosecution system in the last month require the SJC to carefully discuss the question of how the procedure for determining the PG should be carried out and which person is actually the most suitable candidate to lead this institution out of the professional collapse and lack of public trust in which it finds itself.

"Contrary to the need for a careful approach and maximum publicity, the prosecutor's collegium of the SJC today made a decision in violation of the procedural rules and in violation of the moral responsibility it bears to the Bulgarian citizens", the statement of the coalition also says, adding that the procedure was carried out by the prosecutor's collegium of the SJC, although according to the Constitution of Bulgaria, the election of the Chief Prosecutor is carried out by the Plenum of the SJC.

"This choice leads to a huge concentration of powers in a single person - higher even than the one with which the instrument in the hands of the Lord Mr. Ivan Geshev was available, since Sarafov intends to remain the director of the National Investigative Service", WCC-DB also said and pointed out that Borislav Sarafov, in his capacity as deputy chief prosecutor, was part of Ivan Geshev's team, which for years handled many landmark cases "like corpses". He was also the main participant in the conflict that broke out between the institutions related to the investigation and detection of crimes in the Republic of Bulgaria - the Prosecutor's Office and the National Investigation Service.

"We consider it inadmissible for a person against whom reports of crimes have been filed to perform, even temporarily, the functions of Chief Prosecutor."

According to WCC-DB, Mr. Sarafov does not meet the requirements for occupying his new position, according to Art. 170, par. 4 and 5 of the Law on the Judiciary - pronounced independence, will to enforce legality, contribution to the establishment of the rule of law, etc.

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