In an interview, former judge Rumyana Chenalova and her husband Dr. Krassimir Hadzhigeorgiev told Bivol that the former President of the Sofia City Court (SCC) Vladimira Yaneva and her husband have visited them and offered them money to prevent Chenalova’s possible opposition to Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov.
This had happened after Rumyana Chenalova was released from custody (this happened on April 17, 2015). Yaneva had come to visit Chenalova without being invited; she had been accompanied by her husband (who works as air flight controller) and one of her two children.
Earlier last week, Yaneva told the SJC that she had not seen Chenalova after SJC suspended her from the top post in the SCC in February. Chenalova, however, refuted her allegations and in turn claimed that Yaneva was in her home and talked in the presence of other guests who witnessed the events.
“She warned me to be careful in what I say and not to cross the Prosecutor General, because I would be in trouble. She offered me money; her husband also offered money,” the former SCC judge said before the camera.
Chenalova refused to answer questions of Bivol about the identity of the man whose voice is also heard in the leaked recordings; where the recorded meeting with Yaneva took place and about the dog whose barking is recorded as well. She recommended to the prosecution to launch pre-trial proceedings in order to clarify the mystery with the dog that seems to intensely motivate the SJC Ethics Commission.
The recordings that have been released so far reveal that according to Yaneva, Sotir Tsatsarov had been pressured by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to “finish” her, but the Prosecutor General promised to “mask” things. When the pressure became too strong and he could not endure it, he had softened the blow by not directly indicting Yaneva for the case “Worms”, but rather launching pre-trial proceedings against her to enable the SJC to suspend her only temporarily and not automatically.
In statements to the media after Yaneva’s suspension, Sotir Tsatsarov defended her and claimed that she was not the major culprit in the affair “Worms”. After the leaking of the recordings “Yaneva Gate”, Tsatsarov confirmed his view, commenting on the ongoing case against the former boss of the SCC. At a meeting of the SJC, he said that Vladimira Yaneva was not to blame for the scandal “Worms” and that nothing could be proved in this legal case. To a remark that with this comment he violated the Code of Ethics of magistrates, Tsatsarov replied: “I’ll comment on what I deem necessary”.
In response to a question of the online news agency Mediapool, the European Commission expressed the opinion that the investigation into the scandal “Yaneva Gate” should be conducted by an independent body, and all involved parties should be excluded from the process of establishing the facts and clarifying any doubts related to possible trading of influence. Thus, the Commission implies that Sotir Tsatsarov must resign for the time of the duration of the probe.
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