Lozan Panov avoids inconvenient questions

Following a meeting with the president, the infamous magistrate attacks Prosecutor’s Office

The infamous head of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) Lozan Panov has run away from the media’s inconvenient question once again. He walked away from every enquiry about whether he would resign now that it has emerged that he defamed the country in front of Brussels representatives and after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov publicly withdrew his support for him.

Left unanswered were also questions about Apartmentgate, which has been revealed to involve his wife Elisaveta; about the fact that the National Revenue Agency discovered huge discrepancy of over BGN 100,000 in his personal financial statement; and, most importantly, about who exactly Panov is serving – the public or the oligarchs? Mirroring his usual comportment in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), where he just stands up and leaves at the slightest hint of an inconvenient question, Panov once again opted to stay silent in the face of challenging queries and answer only selected journalists who are known to treat him with kid gloves.

The disgraceful scene took place outside of the president’s headquarters, where earlier Bulgaria’s №1 judge had an official 50-minute meeting with the head of state Rumen Radev to discuss the upcoming appointment of a new prosecutor general this autumn. Panov is the second of the “big three” in the judicial system to have been invited by the president after a day earlier the incumbent Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov was at 2 Dondukov Str. for a similar meeting.

In an attempt to avoid the journalistic questions following his visit to the president’s office, Panov recited a little speech expressing his appreciation for the president’s invitation and recognition of the importance of such a meeting. “I took advantage of the opportunity to reiterate my proposal for changes to the constitution, the role of the Prosecutor’s Office and the powers of the prosecutor general,” said Panov, once again showing his propensity to use such occasions to attack the rest of the institutions, the ones who do not do the oligarchs’ bidding.

Panov ignored several questions about him possibly resigning and swiftly returned to the prosecutor-general topic and the theses he was hell-bent on voicing in front of the media. “Let me say one more thing on the prosecutor-general subject. If the SJC is not reformed and continues to be dominated by the political quota, the question of how a new prosecutor general is going to be selected is almost a foregone conclusion. If the SJC is still dominated by the political quota, as it presently is, I think we all know how the next prosecutor general will be selected,” Panov said, apparently forgetting that he himself was selected by an SJC formed under the same model and had no objections at the time.

 

The questions Panov avoided:

1. Mr Panov, who do you serve – the public or the prominent individuals indicted for defrauding Bulgarian citizens?

2. Does the code of ethics of magistrates not dictate that you resign, considering that you have been incriminated in hiding BGN 100,000 in tax evasion while your wife’s name has been involved in Apartmentgate?

3. Why did you turn your back on the official commemoration of the anniversary of the Bulgarian constitution’s adoption and opted to talk about the country’s main set of laws at a conference organised by an NGO linked to an indicted oligarch like Tsvetan Vassilev?

4. Is it acceptable in your estimation for the president of the SCC to express his opinion about ongoing legal proceedings (such as the Desislava Ivancheva case) and attack the work of other Bulgarian institutions in front of European Commission representatives but not assess his own work?

5. Are the opinions expressed by you in front of European Commission experts not in fact tantamount to political statements in contravention of the prohibition of such set out in the Judicial System Act?

6. Is the insistence that the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Bulgaria should be kept in place not a defamation of the country’s image and running against its interests?

7. Is it acceptable for the SCC president to view himself above the law by not filing a property statement, a move that has resulted in convictions by courts of two different instances?

8. Is it acceptable for the country’s №1 judge to launch a legal proceeding in Strasbourg against decisions upheld at two court instances?

9. Have you launched the lawsuit yet and, if so, what kind of a message does that send to the Bulgarian public and the country’s European partners?

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