The decree of the Sofia Regional Prosecutor’s Office to launch pre-trial proceedings against Bivol’s Editor-in-Chief Atanas Tchobanov has been revoked by the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office. According to the latter, there are no grounds to seek criminal liability from Atanas Tchobanov for libel against Ivan Danov.

The letter, confirming the action of the Sofia Regional Prosecutor’s Office and its sudden revocation came from Malina Alexandrova, Director of the prosecution’s “Public Relations”.

Bivol reminds that pre-trial proceedings under article 286 of the Penal Code were launched by prosecutor Deyan Slavov from the Sofia Regional Prosecutor’s Office on June 23, 2015, after a preliminary probe in which the Regional Prosecutor has found evidence of criminal libel, punishable by one to six years in prison.

Several hours earlier, Reporters Without Borders published on its website a press release describing the start of pre-trial criminal proceedings against the journalist from Bivol as politically motivated and urged the judicial authorities to terminate them.

The prosecution is now of the opinion that the author of the signal against Danov should not be subjected to criminal proceedings if he acted in good faith and has approached the State authorities with the conviction that he was reporting evidence of a legal offense. The prosecutor also refers to the practice of the Supreme Court of Cassations in similar cases.

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Danov has committed a crime, but the limitation period has expired

The Sofia Appellate Prosecutor’s Office has established that there is evidence of a crime committed by Ivan Danov, but the limitation period to seek criminal liability for the offense has expired, the press office of the prosecution further claims.

We remind that according to the Bulgarian Penal Code offences related to document forgeries have a limitation period of ten years and the evidence of unlawfully received social benefits by Danov in France dates from the period September 2004 – June 2005. The limitation period has expired in June 2015, but a few months prior to that prosecutor Boryana Betsova terminated the investigation against Danov with a decree that fully accepts his defense thesis, despite the obvious absurdities in it and the availability of documents confirming his criminal acts.

Bivol will scrutinize carefully the controversial practice of the prosecution in the case “Danov” as well as attempts to intimidate a journalist with a libel case, after carefully examining the texts of the decrees of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office and the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office.

Publications in the “Danov Gate” saga can be found here.

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