A red folder with a report from the SCC file clerk Diyana Topchiyska and a tucked “decision” for judge Mimi Petrova have made attorney Momchil Mondeshki very nervous. He asks Vladimira Yaneva to take it out of the Court before she is suspended from the. Yaneva has called her secretary “Svetla” and has instructed her to take the file and give it to the driver “Iliya”. After the news that Yaneva has been suspended, Mondeshki again asks her whether “Svetla” has managed to “sneak” the file that, it seems, is not to be seen by outsider eyes.
This emerges from the next episode of the conversation between former SCC President, Vladimira Yaneva, former judge Rumyana Chenalova and attorney Momchil Mondeshki. This segment contains reasonable doubt that Yaneva has committed abuse of office – removal of a sensitive document from SCC, probably with the goal to conceal something even more outrageous.
Approached for comment, judge Chenalova said she had no recollection of this particular episode related to the file and Yaneva’s call to “Svetla” and “Iliya”. She reiterated that the conversation took place in her home on February 19, 2015, in the afternoon. “I left the room several times; I made coffee,” said Chenalova and specified that Mondeshki and Yaneva had discussed among themselves topics to which she was not privy.
SCC: We will not conduct a probe
Bivol asked questions to the SCC leadership such as who were the protagonists in this story; what could the file contain; whether it is possible that it contained information on the use of Special Surveillance Devices (SSDs) and whether a probe will be assigned. The answer reads as follows:
- One of those names mentioned in the transcript of the recordings is Svetla. Perhaps this is Svetla Kassabova who has worked as secretary to the President, at the time Yaneva was the administrative head of the SCC. Moreover, Svetla Kassabova and another employee have shared the duties of the administrative secretary and the salary for the post. Since February 15, 2016, Svetla Kassabova is no longer an employee of SCC. According to her colleagues, she works at the Supreme Administrative Court.
- The other person is mentioned only by last name – Topchiyska. At present, the Sofia City Court has two employees with such last name – mother and daughter. The mother is Diyana Topchiyska. When Vladimira Yaneva was President of the Sofia City Court, Diyana Topchiyska was head of the registry of the Court’s Commercial Division. By order of the new President, Kaloyan Topalov, dated October 16, 2015, she was removed from this position and is now a regular file clerk in the first-instance Civil Division. Her daughter Katya is a clerk in the Criminal Division, but has not worked with Judge Mimi Petrova, whose name is also mentioned.
- The name Iliyan is also mentioned. Most likely, this is Iliyan Alexandrov who serves as driver of the SCC President.
- We cannot answer your questions about the “red folder” and what was in it because the conversation does not contain enough information. In the Sofia City Court, all criminal cases are bound with red folders. Folders with color covers, some of which are also red, are used for various documents. Folders with SSDs are white. (The bolding has been done by the editorial office.)
After we asked clarifying questions and specifically whether a probe into the case will still be initiated, the SCC replied that “this part of the transcript of the conversation that you have submitted does not contain enough information to warrant launching a probe”. According to the response of the press office of the Court, “memos and reports by Diyana Topchiyska for the specified period – early 2015 to February 19, 2015 – are not available in the SCC”.
Institutions once again with “Eyes Wide Shut” to obvious evidence of crimes
The refusal of the Sofia City Court to begin an internal probe apparently fits the trend followed by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and the prosecution to ignore evidence of corruption, trading influence, and concretely in this case, abuse of office and tapering with documents, emerging from the recordings from # Yaneva Gate. And this is happening despite the fact that there are clearly identifiable persons who did not participate in the talks, but can attest to what happened with the “red folder”. The very fact pointing to “sneaking out” documents from the office of the head of the SCC at the last moment before her suspension gives enough grounds for a detailed probe.
Obviously, the conversation refers to a report prepared by the then head of the secretariat of the Business Division, Diyana Topchiyska, which was intended for Judge Mimi Petrova. Mimi Petrova is a criminal judge in the SCC, who has been sanctioned for botched cases. Therefore, the possibilities are not indefinite and any particular report and what is included in the “red folder” can be easily established.
The fact that a court rule was also “tucked” in the folder, and the clearly voiced concern by attorney Mondeshki, who even offers to Yaneva to “simply discard” these documents, raises many questions that should be investigated by the prosecution. For now, the Prosecutor’s Office is keeping silent on the developments in the Yaneva Gate probe that was closed in the summer.
If, however, the prosecution refuses again to investigate the evidence in this particular recording, there is a completely realistic possibility to seek criminal liability from Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov for concealing crimes that acting magistrates have committed.
Yaneva, before learning about her suspension by the SJC:
Mondeshki (M): Right there, where I told you to just throw them away? Or bring them with you, but do not leave them there.
Yaneva (Ya): Do you want me to get Iliya to go take them and bring them?
M: Please do (sighs heavily). They will be trying to do something else, if you leave office.
Ya: Svetla, listen, prepare a red folder with a report from Topchiyska, you know what I am talking about? Right, so, that same one. With one rule tucked inside for Mimi Petrova. I put it inside. Put them in an envelope and a call Iliyan and give them to him. Yes, I do have, thanks. OK, thanks, let’s do it.
M: What do you have?
Ya: Some paid leave; this is what this was only about… Iliyan, listen, go get some documents from Svetla and bring them here where you dropped me off and call me when you get here to come pick them up. OK, start moving…
After Yaneva learned about her suspension:
Ya: Thank God, all this agony is over.
M: What is over, nothing is over, just stop it.
Ya: How come nothing is over?
M: Who is going to examine the criminal case, where?
Ya: The City Prosecutor’s Office.
M: Did Svetla pull out that folder from your room? Do they have the right to seal off your room?
Ya: Nonsense, sealing off the room.
M: Tell Svetla to collect them for you. Along with everything happening, why don’t you go there, just to collect…?
Ya: Well, I will not go now; I will go tomorrow or Monday.
M: At least it is good that Galya Georgieva is not there to sequester your cases ASAP as she did with mine.
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