Prosecutor General: We are going to uncover the network of oligarchs, politicians and media outlets
The Prosecutor’s Office has published new scandalous text messages exchanged between presidential advisor Plamen Uzunov and businessman Plamen BobokovTelegraph Media , Sofia
The behind-the-scenes network involving politicians, oligarchs, businessmen and media outlets will be uncovered. This is what Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev vowed during a visit to the town of Sandanski, where a special operation cracking down on organised crime and drug distribution was carried out on 23 June.
“I think it has become pretty clear to all Bulgarian citizens that, as long as I am prosecutor general, the Prosecutor’s Office will not make compromises and no one will be untouchable, be it the prime minister or the president, a minister, a deputy minister, a secretary of some state body, a lawmaker or a native Roma person, a Jew, a native Turkish person or another Bulgarian citizen. On social benefits or an oligarch – it does not matter, everyone will be treated with the same approach. The line of demarcation is whether the law has been broken. We do not and are not going to start taking actions with an eye on the possible political consequences. If politicians would like to avoid political consequences, they should do themselves a favour and make sound personnel decisions and abide by the law,” Geshev told journalists. He was adamant that the dependencies and ties between the oligarchs, businessmen, public institutions and media outlets will be illuminated.
“The network is evident and it is extremely convoluted,” Geshev noted.
“Who could have possibly imagined what the indicted Bobokov had on his phone and who he talked to?! We continue to be uninterested in the public positions that are being taken. Different politicians commenting about us; different media outlets, dependent on certain oligarchs, commenting about us – this is not important to us. The more we work, the more details about this network of dependencies will come to light. I am perfectly aware of the political attacks that await the Prosecutor’s Office and the personal attacks to which individual prosecutors will be subjected. There may even be legislative attempts to shut the Prosecutor’s Office down. I know that this will happen, that this is coming, but we have already thrown ourselves into the fight and we are determined to win it,” Geshev said.
“We do not shy away from being open about our problems either – having to do with attempts by oligarchs or politicians to exert influence on the Prosecutor’s Office and on the judicial system, by extension. What we are doing is show the Bulgarian citizens evidence and information gathered over the course of investigations so that manipulations are prevented. This is what we are doing – we are showing the citizens this network of entanglements with large corporations, political dependencies on all levels of the government. As long as I am prosecutor general, the Prosecutor’s Office will stay committed to disrupting this network. If the prime minister can be questioned, if an incumbent minister can be arrested in an unprecedented move and if a deputy minister can remain in custody, I see no reason why an advisor to the president should be off-limits when it comes to questioning,” the country’s top prosecutor explained in connection with an ongoing influence peddling investigation, as part of which the presidential advisor Plamen Uzunov and businessman Plamen Bobokov were questioned.
A bit earlier in the day, the Prosecutor’s Office published new scandalous text messages exchanged between Uzunov and Bobokov, the latter of whom has been indicted in the Garbage-gate case.
In a statement, the Specialised Prosecutor’s Office clarifies that the information it is publishing is “in relation to the numerous journalistic questions and with a view to ascertaining the objective truth about the pretrial proceedings looking into a possible criminal organisation created with the purpose of influence peddling.”
The Specialised Prosecutor’s Office also notes that the experts’ computer and technological analysis of mobile devices used by the businessman Bobokov has determined that active communication took place between him and Uzunov. One of the topics discussed by the two of them concerned developments in case №11413/2018 – the so-called Badr case about the seized Libyan-flagged oil tanker off the coast of Burgas. The Prosecutor’s Office vehemently rejected Uzunov’s attempts to lie in his bTV appearance of a day earlier, when he said he did not know how he found himself in possession of the Supreme Administrative Court’s (SAC) decision on the case even before it was announced and which he was quick to share with Bobokov. According to the phone communication between the two of them, the exchange of information related to Badr began shortly after the case was opened by the SAC.
“Apparent to the exchange of written correspondence of 27 September 2018 via mobile application, Prezident-Pl. Uzunov wrote to P.B.: "I am waiting for the number". P.B.'s response to Prezident-Pl. Uzunov contained a photo, which provided information about an administrative case on protest against a preceding decision of the Administrative Court of Burgas, initiated two weeks earlier (on 13 September 2018). The SAC hearing on the case was scheduled for 27 November 2018. Apparent to the disseminated information by the specialised prosecution office at the end of last week, on 27 December 2018 President-Pl. Uzunov notified P.B. of the court decision prior to its signing by the members of the court panel. The decision itself was announced in public six days later, on 2 January 2019", they point out from the prosecuting authorities.
The analysis of the exchanged messages between the two shows that they were discussing for six months the issue in the related administrative proceedings №11413 / 2018, the Prosecutors’ Office adamantly stated. The expertise provided by the mobile devices used by Bobokov found out that 61 files were exchanged with Prezident-Pl. Uzunov, as part of them contained also the above-cited information about court cases and decisions on them.
"With regard to allegations made by P.U. in a TV interview that his relationship with P.B. was of a purely business nature and it was reduced to a study of business representatives, who were part of official delegations, the mobile communication between the two indicates a number of conducted personal meetings", they added from the state prosecution and attached a photo from a conversation where the two agreed to meet at Uzunov's house in Plovdiv.
"No one has the right to interfere in court cases. This is only one side of the coin. The other side represents a personnel and moral aspect. I take the measures for the problems concerning the Prosecutors’ Office. As you can follow the case with the district prosecutor of Ruse, a comprehensive inspection of his activities is carried out for the latest three year period", the Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev commented on the chats spread by the Prosecutors’ Office between Plamen Bobokov and the presidential counselor Plamen Uzunov.
"I will say once more - I am a senior administrative head of the Prosecutors’ Office. I set the main goals. I do not take decisions on the relevant issues. Whether the presidential counselor will be charged as a defendant, it will be decided by the specialised prosecutors" he also added.
"The problems of the other institutions are not my problems. The President, the Prime Minister and the parties are politically accountable, whereas the prosecutors are not. I will therefore not comment. As far as I remember, the President Rumen Radev appealed for active action to combat the offences of corruption and trading in influence. I think it is very clear to all that as long as I am the Prosecutor General, there will be no exceptions - whether it is about a prime minister, an ordinary official, a Roma or a gypsy, my approach will be the same to everyone. The political consequences are politicians’ problem. If they have a problem, better to be more careful with personnel decisions", Ivan Geshev appealed.
According to him, the Bulgarian Prosecutors’ Office is open to the Bulgarian citizens in a way that no other institution in our country is open. "What we are doing is to show evidence and data so that manipulative political decisions could not be implemented," he stated.
"Let me tell the President again. The Bulgarian Prosecutor General is not investigating body. There are investigative bodies that are supervised by prosecutors," Ivan Geshev commented on the President Rumen Radev's appeal - the photos from PM Boyko Borissov's bedroom to be investigated. "We are not concerned about how a politician comments on us, how some dependent media comments on us. I am very aware of what kind of attacks we are going to suffer and everything else. This is a fierce battle and we are determined to win it", Ivan Geshev adamantly said.