Chair of Bulgaria's Conflict of Interest Watchdog Out, Court Says
An appeals court has upheld the dismissal of the chair of Bulgaria's Commission on Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest (CPACI) over charges of malfeasance in office.
Filip Zlatanov appealed the decision of Sofia City Court to remove him from the post.
Last week Bulgaria's prosecuting authority pressed charges of malfeasance in office against the Chair of CPACI, with Deputy Chief Prosecutor Borislav Sarafov citing excerpts of a "very interesting notebook" seized from Zlatanov's desk indicating that he had received instructions about the progress of certain cases.
"Zlatanov complied with the instructions – to strike, to postpone, to delay, and even to conceal cases," Sarafov stated, adding that the people mentioned in the notebook included Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, as well as E.D., MP of GERB, I.F., B.B., and Ts. Ts.
The people behind the initials are believed to be Iskra Fidosova, a leading figure in center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (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, and GERB MP Emil Dimitrov.
In a Monday statement, Zlatanov adamantly rejected that the notes in his infamous personal notebook were instructions for his work, adding that they had been his own ideas and remarks.
The court ruled that it was possible that Zlatanov would exert harmful influence over officials of CPACI and obstruct evidence gathering on the case if he remained Chair of the watchdog.
"I am innocent and I hope that I will continue to perform my duties," he declared on Friday.
Asked what he had meant by jotting down "to be stricken", he suggested that it implied "to find a case of conflict of interest, maybe."
Asked to shed light on the scheme involving I.F., B.B., and Ts. Ts. contained in his notebook, he said that he could not remember whom he had had in mind, adding that he had simply "jotted something down at a certain moment."
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