Nova TV aired last Saturday an interview with Sotir Tsatsarov in which he pondered upon the leaked recordings that caused the scandal known as “Yaneva Gate”. In the interview, he also spoke about Balkanleaks and Bivol. The whole interview (in Bulgarian) can be seen here. We are going to comment for our readers on some specific allegations of the Prosecutor General that pertain to our publications:
Tsatsarov: Well, you have recordings of conversations between one person against whom legal charges have been pressed and one defendant.
Bivol: By the date when the recordings have been taped, February 19, 2015, judge Vladimira Yaneva has not been charged. Furthermore, the recorded conversations include a third party – attorney Momchil Mondeshki.
Host: Called in short the “two women”.
Tsatsarov: You said it.
Host: OK, and?
Tsatsarov: You have recordings that are published by a certain site. This is normal practice for this site. With, forgive me, the ridiculous assertion that someone anonymously uploaded them on the platform “Balkanleaks”. Who created this platform and whether they have a connection with those who have published the recordings is yet another question.
Bivol: The platform “Balkanleaks” was created by journalists and technical experts, including journalists from Bivol. This is a public fact since December 2010, when Sotir Tsatsarov was still “a judge in Plovdiv, with stable guilty verdict inclinations”. In 2013, “Balkanleaks” was invited to present the results of its work before the Council of Europe at the World Forum for Democracy (see here and here). “Balkanleaks” received high marks for the security and anonymity that guarantee journalists’ safety from the very founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange (see here). It is disturbing that nowadays, in his capacity of Prosecutor General, Sotir Tsatsarov demonstrates small-town ignorance and asks in public questions whose answers have long been known, documented in detail and validated by prestigious global media and international organizations to which Bulgaria also belongs.
Tsatsarov: You have recordings that are helpfully published with precise timing, according to the respective situation, and according to the hot topic of the day.
Host: So, you are saying that this is a scenario?
Bivol: The recordings are published when the editorial team decides, so as to cause maximum public reaction. Their content is such that it is natural that they become the hot topic of the day, the month and the upcoming months. We carefully monitor the public reactions of the involved persons and institutions and take them into account when deciding about the upcoming publication of leaks from “Yaneva Gate”. The fact that the European Commission has called for an independent investigation in the content of the conversations, shows that this strategy is the right one and of benefit to public interest.
Tsatsarov: Lastly, we have an expert report, the supervising prosecutor gave permission to make it public, and it shows that the recordings include traces of manipulation.
Bivol: Who has prepared the expert report; what questions have they been asked and what methodology was used to prepare it? None of this has been published to date! Bivol’s examination of the recordings was commissioned to the prestigious laboratory Acustek and validated by the world-renowned research institute Fraunhofer and it concluded that there was no manipulation of the content (see here).
Tsatsarov: You have recordings released by some bull (Bivol in Bulgarian means bull or buffalo – editor’s note), or a cow, whatever it is, who since the very beginning said that they could not provide the original recordings and have not provided them to date.
Bivol: Buddha (codename of the current Bulgarian Prime Minister back in the 1990s when he was allegedly recruited by the anti-mafia unit as informant over suspected ties with the underworld – editor’s note) , but not the one who appointed you, Mister Tsatsarov, was reincarnated in a cow. Bivol is a bull. He even kills lions, remembers forever and keeps a fair grudge, uncompromisingly and completely.
All recordings published by us are provided in the form in which they were received (see here). So far we have provided eight sound files, and each one is identified with a unique checksum. It is calculated at the time of receipt of the file in the platform Balkanleaks. This is the raw material that we receive and publish in thematic portions. It is understandable that those involved in the scandal, including Sotir Tsatsarov, wanted very much, and still want, to have access to the information in the recordings before they are published in order to prepare their “talking points” or worse- to exert pressure on the persons mentioned in the recordings. Therefore, as a media, which operates solely in the public interest, we repeatedly stated that we will not provide the recording in advance.
Tsatsarov: And finally, they do not wish to provide their notorious expert report because of what not. The report, according to which the recordings contain traces of the use of Special Surveillance Devices (SSD).
Bivol: The information on the periodic markers (beeps) in the recording was published by Bivol on December 2, 2015. The publication itself is professional enough and is accompanied by a graphic analysis and acoustically filtered recordings (see here). Anyone, unless they are both deaf and blind, can hear and observe these markers, whose presence in the recordings is undeniable. On January 21, Bivol published the opinion of the director of the National Center for Media Forensics at the University of Denver, Colorado, USA, who confirms the presence of beeps. The interview with Sotir Tsatsarov was made on January 28. We ask ourselves in what information blackout is Sotir Tsatsarov living? Or is he very well aware of what is going on, but as a person, whose name is tangled in the scandal, is using a national TV to tell obvious lies? As he did four years ago, when Bivol investigated with irrefutable facts and documents his property scams and tax evasion.
Tsatsarov: The recordings have not been made with the use of SSD, they are a manipulation. A manipulation that certain forces, and no one can convince me otherwise, some of which play a very active role in the political spectrum, are using to destabilize the situation. I firmly refuse to participate in scenarios.
Bivol: Clearly, the Prosecutor General, who allowed a concocted scandal to change the course of general elections, knows well how one can destabilize the political situation. However, he does not hold his post to comment on politics and the media, but to supervise the rule of law and combat crime. His results in this sector are miserable, European experts just established. Moreover, according to the information from the recorded conversations, revealed by Yaneva and confirmed for a number of media by the other former judge, who participated in this conversation, Rumyana Chenalova, Sotir Tsatsarov has committed crimes against justice. He has obstructed justice, by “masking” Yaneva’s crimes and ordered the Court to issue a guilty verdict for former Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov. Therefore, his claims that the recordings have not been made with the use of SSD and that they are manipulated, cannot be accepted as impartial and objective.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian