Chief Police Secretary Interrogated by Bulgarian Prosecutors
Kalin Georgiev, Chief Secretary of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry, has been questioned by the Prosecutor's Office.
He was summoned after Wednesday interviews for the Bulgarian National Television and the 24 Chassa (24 Hours) daily, where he claimed there were no deleted recording from special surveillance devices, SRS, and everything from them has been backed up.
Georgiev was interrogated as a witness in the so-called "Bulgarian Watergate" probe for saying a director of the police's SRS unit had not deleted information, as the investigative prosecutors reported, and the said information had always been available to them.
He further claimed before the daily that there were quite logical explanations for all the breaches, including in the real location of the now-infamous minivan with surveillance equipment and the one logged in documentation, on grounds the vehicle has been used for covert operations against organized crime and in protection of national interests.
The prosecution, however, notes in a press release that during its probe none of the above information has been provided by the Interior, including by the Chief Secretary, thus the need of him being questioned.
In the TV interview, Georgiev stressed if a colleague wanted to conceal evidence they would have done it in a much more sophisticated manner.
On Monday, the prosecuting authority reported it has uncovered a series of violations at Bulgaria's Interior Ministry concerning unregulated wiretapping.
A team of ten prosecutors started an inspection of the procedures for applying special surveillance devices on March 29.
The main conclusion of the probe is that the Interior Ministry created possibilities for illegal wiretapping, mediapool.bg reports.
Speaking Monday at a press conference, the Chief Prosecutor made clear that the probe had revealed numerous violations related to the deployment of surveillance equipment and the oversight of such operations.
Tsatsarov informed that the inspection had detected malfeasance in office and abuse of wiretapping equipment.
He said that 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 that the prosecutors would try to recover the lost data.
On March 28, Sergey Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), submitted a tip-off to Tsatsarov about illegal wiretapping of politicians, businessmen and magistrates which had taken place during Tsvetan Tsvetanov's term in office as Interior Minister.
On the following day, a team of prosecutors headed by Sofia City Prosecutor Nikolay Kokinov and his Deputy Roman Vasilev was tasked with the probe at the Interior Ministry.
Tsvetanov continues to deny any involvement in the illegal spying amidst calls from the opposition to step down and leave politics for good.
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.
At a briefing Tuesday, Tsatsarov indirectly admitted the "spying" vehicles have been purchased and used after 2009 when the centrist GERB party took office.
On Tuesday, Georgiev explained before State TV that he was stunned by media interpretations of the results from the ongoing probe, as, according to him, it did not uncover any violations and had not proven that the Interior is illegally spying on people.
Regarding the minivan, circulating around Sofia, which the prosecution seized, the Chief Secretary pointed out the technology was such that it did not allow eavesdropping and could not directly record voices.
"The technology is new and this is most likely why the people using it made some mistakes and oversights. When it was purchased, this I cannot reveal, as it is classified information. After the final conclusions of the probe, we will form a working group to improve the legal frame of the use of such technology," said he.
Georgiev pointed out the senior policemen singled out by the prosecution as the culprits for the breaches in the use of SRS were all very technologically savvy, thus there was no way they deleted the information in such amateur manner as to be caught.
"They are people with dignity, knowledge and skills. The fact they have been charged does not mean they are guilty. I believe that they will be able to clean their names," he concluded.
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