Bulgaria Former Prime Minister Stanishev Formally Charged

Crime | July 14, 2010, Wednesday // 13:02
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Former Prime Minister Stanishev Formally Charged A file picture shows Bulgarian former Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev speaking to journalists at Sofia City Prosecutor's Office. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Sergey Stanishev, Bulgaria's former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Socialist Party, has been formally charged over the leak of a classified report on organized crime that shattered the country at the end of last year.

“It is absurd for a former prime minister to be bring to trial as if he was a file clerk,” Stanishev told reporters as he left the building of the National Investigative Service.

He once again accused the current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of pressuring the prosecution and recalled that at the beginning of the 90s his father was also charged only to be acquitted three months after his death.

“I wish the trial was not classified so that all the people could see what it is about,” the Socialists' leader said. “They won't shut my mouth in this way,” he added.

The prosecutors have demand that the former prime minister is imposed a fine and say there is no need for the detention of the defendant.

The contentious year-old top secret report by the National Security Agency (DANS), which sheds light on the influence of criminal organizations within certain ministries and state agencies, was mysteriously handed over to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov by notorious security agent Aleksei Petrov at the end of October and was unofficially published online days after.

Aleksei Petrov was arrested in February 2010 in a much publicized special police operation codenamed “Octopus”, and is currently jailed facing charges of leading an organized crime ring.

Late in October 2009 Stanishev was questioned over the concealment and leaking of the classified report, but denied any wrongdoing and described the case as provocation and undue use of “pressure”.

Stanishev claims he properly returned the report to DANS, as required by law. Stanishev also relinquished his immunity as a MP, in order to facilitate the proceedings.

If formally charged, Stanishev will join 4 ministers from his cabinet who have been already brought to court: fellow Socialist and ex Labor Minister Emilia Maslarova; two former Agriculture Ministers, Valeri Tsvetanov and Nihat Kabil from DPS; and ex Defense Minister, Nikolay Tsonev from the NMSP.

The case of leaked secret reports has raised considerable alarm in Bulgarian society and institutions since last fall. Former DANS chief Petko Sertov was among the ones questioned over the matter.

In 2005-2009, Sergey Stanishev was the Prime Minister of Bulgaria leading a Cabinet of a three-way coalition made up of his Socialist Party, the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), and the National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NSMP) of former Tsar and PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg.

In July 2009, Stanishev's Socialist Party was defeated in the general elections by Boyko Borisov's center-right party GERB.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Aleksei Petrov, National Security Agency (DANS), classified report on organized crime, National Investigative Service, Sergey Stanishev, DANS, Stanishev

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