Bulgaria PM, Court at Daggers Drawn over SAPARD Case

Politics » DOMESTIC | February 24, 2010, Wednesday // 16:51
Bulgaria: Bulgaria PM, Court at Daggers Drawn over SAPARD Case Sofia City Court has released an official statement commenting on 'inadmissible' remarks made by Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov and his deputy, Tsvetan Tsvetanov. Photo by BGNES

Sofia City Court has reacted to remarks made in public by both the Bulgarian Prime Minister and his Deputy concerning the ongoing trial of Mario Nikolov and Lyudmil Stoykov.

Nikolov and Stoykov are accused of having drained away and laundered EUR 7,5 M from the EU SAPARD agriculture development program. A second case involving Nikolov, his wife and seven others, is also ongoing, despite several postponements.

Magistrates have explained on Wednesday in an official statement that both cases are now at the trial stage and evidence is actively being collected.

"In this sense, the Prime Minister's statements that "it is well known who is not doing his job" arouse bewilderment, and asking "where is the political umbrella?" and political implications of this nature are completely unacceptable for ensuring a fair and honest trial," the court announced.

The judiciary also commented on Deputy PM Tsvetan Tsvetsanov's assertion on Wednesday that a legal mechanism for sending the SAPARD case to Germany was being sought.

"The Sofia Court is obliged to declare that there is no mechanism whatsoever by which the state can give up its sovereignty, or its obligation to investigate crimes committed by Bulgarian citizens and on its territory."

According to magistrates, it was inadmissible "only two weeks before the hearing of court pleading in this case, to prejudge its outcome and question the impartiality of the court".

In conclusion, the judges cited Thierry Cretin, head of OLAF investigations and operations, who recently said that the judiciary in Bulgaria was independent and that its decisions should be respected.

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Tags: Thierry Cretin, OLAF, Lyudmil Stoykov, Mario Nikolov, SAPARD, judiciary, Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister, Sofia City Court

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