Fresh recordings of conversations between two former Bulgarian senior magistrates, Vladimira Yaneva and Rumyana Chenalova, and an unidentified man expose again heavy dependencies and conflicts of interest within the SJC, as well as inappropriate outside influence from the executive.
They reveal that Yaneva has sent a short text message to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on Thursday, February 12. He was in Brussels then, but only three minutes after receiving the message, “Mitko” (Dimitar) – “Borisov’s man” in the SJC – had contacted Yaneva. “Mitko” is Dimitar Uzunov, former Chair of the District Court in the southern town of Sandanski and current member of the SJC.
“Mitko” wanted to communicate with Yaneva on Viber, rather than on the normal phone line. He assured her that “the man in Brussels had just called him” and promised that Yaneva was safe, and his statements about “the 400 years in prison she deserved” were just for the media.
The “Man in Brussels”, who made a similar statement before the media on Thursday, February 12, was Boyko Borisov. He literally said the following:
“Because if they gave Tsvetanov (Tsvetan Tsvetanov, former Interior Minister in the first cabinet “Borisov” – editor’s note) four years in jail for what they have done, everyone in this chain of command from the judge to the last person must get 400 years, assuming that there is similarity in the cases.”
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Shortly after the conversation with Uzunov on Viber, Yaneva, still the boss of the Sofia City Court (SCC) received a message from an unknown subscriber, again on Viber. With a playful hint he gave her indication that her problems will be solved.
“Let’s not forget that Sandanski is the warmest town. If Mitko says so, we can go for a walk in the park.”
Yaneva confidently explains to Chenalova that the author of the mysterious message could be “no one else”, apparently referring to Boyko Borisov. “Yes, yes, yes, yes,” agrees Chenalova.
The guarantees of “the Man in Brussels” have also been confirmed to Vladimira Yaneva by “Milka”. The person in question is another member of the SJC – Milka Itova, who had talked with Dimitar Uzunov.
“Vladi, we must meet”
Apart from Uzunov, Yaneva had received guarantees from yet another member of the SJC – Yassen Todorov, who had called her and asked her to meet in person on Tuesday, February 17 (the call between Yaneva and Chenalova is from Thursday, February 19).
Yassen Todorov is the Head of the SJC Ethics Commission, which has now decided to act on the leaked so far recordings. He told Yaneva the following: “Boyko sent me one of his closest people to tell me not to touch you in any way.
“Yes,” agrees Chenalova.
“The two people who hold the Council are Yassen and Mitko.”
However, the guarantees given by Borisov did not work and ultimately, on February 19, the SJC removed Yaneva. In the recording, the judge reflects on this discrepancy between words and deeds, and does not understand how, after having secured the support of the two most important lobbies in the SJC – of Dimitar Uzunov and Yassen Todorov – she had been ultimately “finished”.
“Why he asks Mitko to call me? And did I tell you that he sent someone to Yassen as well? That I cannot understand – why is he doing this? To me that is inexplicable. Sending to me the two most important people in the Council? The two people who hold the Council and the lobbies are around them – Mitko and Yassen – the two sleekest people in the Council that can deal with any situation. And he sends them,” Yaneva whines, referring to Boyko Borisov’s messengers.
Chenalova offers the hypothesis that this maybe a game of the Chief Prosecutor. “Do you know if Boyko really pressured him”? The unidentified man from the recordings backs her up. “Think a bit,” says he. Yaneva, however, dismisses this premise because she says she knew Boyko very well and could go and speak directly with him, thus expose Tsatsarov’s game if there was any.
Bivol tried to reach Yasen Todorov and Dimitar Uzunov by phone, but they did not respond to calls and text messages. Milka Itova said over the phone that she was abroad and asked to have the questions sent to her by email. No response was received by the time of the publication.
Viber: We keep the message history for 30 months. We will give them to law enforcement authorities if they request them
Bivol approached the legal unit of Viber and they told us that call history and messages are kept for 30 months. Information about who talked or exchanged messages, at what time, and from which IP address can be provided upon request from law enforcement. The actual content of the calls is not kept. The company invoices the search for such information and the fee is 500 US dollars for one number for one year or part of that amount for the respective period. This means that if there is a will to investigate, such investigation in the records can be conducted and the information to be confirmed or rejected.
But who is there to investigate? From what we know so far, it is clear that half of the Supreme Judicial Council, the Chief Prosecutor and the Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court were all involved in the intrigue with Yaneva’s “finishing”. Moreover, almost all of the “independent judiciary” appears dependent on the whims and moods of the Prime Minister. And this is a surefire sign that 26 years after the fall of communism, we still live in a totalitarian regime with a democratic façade – a façade that “the Man” shows in Brussels and receives “congratulation”.
And then takes a walk in the park with a judge.
VYA: At the same time, being in this whole drama, I go crazy. And I sent Boyko one text message. And I write him this. So, he is in Brussels. This happened on Thursday.
No, I’m sorry; I have not violated the law. In addition, in four years I signed over 15,000 permits to use SSDs. Something that is absolutely true as these are the numbers – 5,000 a year.
Only three minutes later, Mitko (Dimitar) Uzunov calls me. You got Viber? I say, I have Viber.
You know, Dimitar Uzunov is his man in the Council (SJC), with whom he communicates and he tells him everything.
Only three minutes later, Mitko calls me on the Viber and tells me: “The man from Brussels just called and said not to worry, he made that statement only for the media, for the 400 years that is. You should not think too much about it and you should not worry.”
Another 10-15 minutes pass and I open my Viber and see the following message from an unknown number: “The wind is very strong here. Weathermen say the weather will be fine. Let’s not forget that Sandanski is the warmest town. If Mitko says so, we can go for a walk in the park.”
It couldn’t be from anyone else. (RCH: Yes, Yes, yes…) As already… (RCH: Yes, Yes, yes…) And I spoke with Mitko 10 minutes earlier. And also the wind is strong here and so on. They call from elsewhere. And he talks about Mitko.
RCH: Yes, Yes, yes…
VYA: I calm down completely. Milka calls me and tells me not to worry; Mitko called me and told me that he had spoken with you know who.
And that everything was fine and there will be no problems.
Yassen Todorov calls me on Tuesday and says: “Vladi, we need to meet.”
And Yassen and I meet. Yassen said: “Boyko sent me one of his closest people to tell me not to touch you in any way. So far, so good.
VYA: I cannot understand, however, why he acts in this way; this is what I cannot understand. Why he asks Mitko to call me. And did I tell you that he sent someone to Yassen as well?
VYA: That I cannot understand – why is he doing this? To me that is inexplicable.
(RCH: Maybe the Chief Prosecutor…?)
VYA: Sending to me the two most important people in the Council? The two people who hold the Council and the lobbies are around them – Mitko and Yassen. The two sleekest people in the Council that can deal with any situation. And he sends them.
RCH: Could this be a game of the Chief Prosecutor?
Man: Think a bit.
RCH: Do you know if Boyko really pressured him?
VYA: But I asked the Chief Prosecutor. And I told him: “Do I need to go talk to Boyko”? And he said: “It is up to you to decide”.
RCH: Well, he cannot tell you: “Do not go”.
VYA: Yes, but he knows that we know each other and we know each other very well. And if I ask him: “What’s up”? And if he said: “I have nothing to do with it; this is only the Chief Prosecutor.”
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