'Amnesia' Strikes Bulgarian Conflict of Interest Watchdog Chair
Filip Zlatanov, Chair of Bulgaria's Commission on Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest (CPACI), has forgotten details of what he has written in his now-infamous notebook.
Zlatanov spoke Thursday before the Bulgarian National Television.
"I have forgotten. If you are asking about Iskra Fidosova, yes, I know her in person. I have nothing to deny," said he.
At a briefing, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Borislav Sarafov said that the authorities had seized Zlatanov's computer, and "a very interesting notebook."
Zlatanov is said to have received instructions about the progress of certain cases.
"He wrote these instructions in his notebook, which we seized, and which we will present to you. It was found in his desk. Zlatanov complied with the instructions – to strike, to postpone, to delay, and even to conceal cases," Sarafov stated.
During the press conference, notes from the notebook mentioning names of a number of officials and quite frequently the one of Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev were shown.
One note said "Plevneliev -> inadmissible to become public."
Another note from the notebook was "E.D., MP of GERB, to be stricken in a month. No longer a factor in GERB."
Other initials in the notebook include I.F., B.B., and Ts. Ts.
From the notes, it emerged that a female, with initials I.F., has given the instructions to Zlatanov about the cases.
There are also notes against certain media such as Dnevnik and Capital, labeled as "enemies."
The prosecutors say they have checked about 10 cases revolving around the notes and found 100% match.
For example, soon after Zlatanov wrote that "E.D. was no longer a factor in GERB," CPACI announced the "untouchable" until then Emil Dimitrov, Member of the Parliament from the then-ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, has been found in conflict of interests.
Experts and common Bulgarians quickly saw behind the other initials the names of Iskra Fidosova, a leading figure in GERB and former Chair of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, Boyko Borisov, GERB leader and former Prime Minister, and GERB Deputy Chairman and former Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
"I cannot tell you what I was thinking back in time about any particular issue. No one has ever pressured me," Zlatanov told BNT on Thursday.
Regarding a particularly striking note, reading "People must be made to take to the streets, February 19," he reiterated that he had forgotten what it was supposed to mean.
"These are my personal notes, but I can't tell you what they mean," Zlatanov "explained."
(Borisov and his GERB Cabinet announced they were resigning on February 20, 2013, amidst violent clashes with police and people staging mass and persistent rallies against corruption, monopolies, poverty and economic stagnation – editor's note.)
When asked why he had to inform I.F. about everything going one in the State and with its leaders, as one note reads, Zlatanov replied: "I have no idea. Don't know anything about such order."
"I know Ms. Fidosova in her capacity of Chair of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. We have spoken about work, but I never coordinated cases with anyone," he stressed.
As the notebook triggered another huge scandal in Bulgaria, some are voicing suspicions of foul play, saying it could have been planted to discredit the President, GERB, and its leaders.
Emil Dimitrov, however, was quoted by several media in saying he was certain the notes were authentic and Fidosova and Tsvetanov were capable of anything.
Dimitrov, formerly known as a close friend of Borisov, is among the five members of GERB, who recently issued a media statement saying that they are taking steps to terminate their party membership and to establish a new political project.
He has insisted all along that Borisov has never been involved in any murky dealings and backstabbings, but blamed him for not getting rid of Fidosova and Tsvetanov.
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