New evidence of dependencies in Bulgarian media are emerging from # Yaneva Gate

Bulgarian Journalist to Fallen Judge: “Do you need support, what should I publish?”

#YanevaGate, Season 3, Episode 2

A journalist named “Venelina” has been in particularly warm relations with the now-ousted judge, Vladimira Yaneva. When on 19 February 2015, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) decided to summon Yaneva over the case known as “Worms” (signing warrants for the use of Special Surveillance Devices, SSD, in breach of the law), Venelina had rung Yaneva “hundreds of times” and had sent numerous text messages with proposals for media support. Ivaylo Krachunov, then editor-in-chief of the site PIK had also called Yaneva “a thousand times”. This has emerged from the next episode of the # Yaneva Gate saga – recordings of conversations between judges Vladimira Yaneva, Rumyana Chenalova and attorney Momchil Mondeshki.

The best-known “Venelina” among journalists is the editor-in-chief of 24 Hours daily, Venelina Gocheva. A check in the archives of the newspaper shows that it has published positive and even “advertorial” articles, both about Yaneva and attorney Momchil Mondeshki. The latter has been promoted there as an expert in the “Belvedere” case that prompted the former French Ambassador to Bulgaria to launch the debate on the “bad apples” in the Bulgarian judiciary.

Both 24 Hours and PIK have a reputation of defending the establishment and the so-called Model # WHO, one of whose avatars was also believed to be the now-former President of the Sofia City Court (SCC), Vladimira Yaneva. In the past, she was also particularly close to former Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and she, herself, says she knew second-term Prime Minister Boyko Borisov personally and quite well. Over time, however, the situation changed and the Prime Minister personally ordered to have her “finished” as it has emerged from previously published recordings. “Delyan” (Delyan Peevski, controversial lawmaker, media mogul, businessman and epitome of the model WHO – editor’s note) had intervened in her favor, but it had not been enough to appease “Boyko”.

In this complicated situation at the time, media controlled by Delyan Peevski suffered from “cognitive dissonance”. Without daring to directly attack Yaneva, they also didn’t dare to protect her in order not to incur the wrath of the Prime Minister.

“It is hell in the Court, right? It is hell in the Court,” this is how attorney Momchil Mondeshki comments in the recording on the situation in the Sofia City Court on the day before Vladimira Yaneva was to be “finished”.

At this point of the conversation, Yaneva reiterates the sequence of events that preceded her suspension; events which were extensively discussed in a series of recordings from the first season of Yaneva Gate (see here, here and here).

The judge further describes to the other participants in the conversation – Rumyana Chenalova and Momchil Mondeshki – her schedule for the fateful day when the “finishing” took place and she was summoned to the SJC for a hearing in the case “Worms”. She had carefree plans to travel to Thessaloniki to celebrate her birthday:

“And in the morning I had made an appointment at the hairdresser. And I just went to sign some SSD authorizations and finish what there was and see you and then get my suitcases ready and travel. And after this whole mess happened… Cause he, the Prosecutor General, rang me last night, very late. It was about 7-8 pm; he was still at work, he rang me from his internal office phone. And after I realized the whole mess…”

Before the Ethics Commission of the SJC, Prosecutor General, Sotir Tsatsarov, downright denied having talked to Yaneva on the occasion of her impending suspension, which would be inadmissible trading of influence. The senior magistrates from SJC, however, refused to check the printouts from the office phones inside the Courthouse to find out whether there has been a call from the office of Sotir Tsatsarov to Yaneva’s phone.

Once having learned personally from the Prosecutor General that she was going to be targeted, Yaneva canceled the trip to Thessaloniki. Nevertheless, she went to the hairdresser and then stopped at the Court to receive her subpoena for the SJC hearing. There, she hastily wrote a statement; sent it to the SJC and told her colleagues that she would not appear. It is not clear whether she managed to also sign the SSD warrants.

Later in the conversation, Yaneva presents her arguments – she has given written explanations for everything – “time, subjects, online registry,” as it was classified information. “And whoever has clearance, they should read their file”.

At the end of this episode, we understand that attorney Mondeshki has been informed by Yaneva about the latest developments in the early hours of the previous day, around 1 am on “the other phone”.

“Well it was just the icing on the cake, simply, well, it was the icing on the cake …,” he sighs.

Журналистката “Венелина” е била в особено топли отношения с Владимира Янева. Когато на 19 февруари 2015 г. ВСС решава да я призове по делото “Червеи” Венелина звъняла “стотици пъти” и пратила СМС с предложение за медийна подкрепа. Ивайло Крачунов, тогава гл. редактор на сайта ПИК също звънял “хиляда пъти” на Янева. Това става ясно от поредния епизод от #Яневагейт – записи на разговори между съдийките Владимира Янева, Румяна Ченалова и адв. Момчил Мондешки.


Listen to the file here (in Bulgarian):


These solid connections and affiliations of senior magistrates with media moguls emerging from the Yaneva Gate recordings largely explain the information blackout and crony publications related to this huge scandal, revealing the severe corruption and unacceptable dependencies in our political and judicial systems in the recent history of the country. Such practice ranked Bulgaria at the shameful 113th place in the world press freedom index of Reporters Without Borders.

In the next episode of # Yaneva Gate, readers will find out # WHO has collected money to save Vladimira Yaneva, # WHO was supposed to get paid, and especially # WHY.


  • In another recording from the first season of Yaneva Gate, the judge also revealed that at the time of the meeting of the SJC, she received a call from the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, Georgi Kolev:

    But what happens today (February 19 – editor’s note)? What happened today is that they were at each other’s throats savagely. They decided that they should hear me, a procedure that does not exist anywhere under the sun. There was a swarm inside. Joro (Georgi) Kolev calls me (apparently during the meeting – editor’s note) and says: “Here, the people do not want to suspend you. However, he says, I am very worried. Because the Prosecutor General says that if we do not suspend you, he will indict you.”





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