“To strike, to postpone, to delay, to fix and to conceal,” these memorable instructions from the notebook of *Filip Zlatanov have a new eloquent addition: “To finish!”
This is the word that the former Chair of the Sofia City Court (SCC), Vladimira Yaneva, uses to describe to former SCC judge Rumyana Chenalova the beginning of her own downfall. According to information she has been provided with, on Wednesday evening, February 11, 2015, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had held a secret meeting with Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov and had instructed him to “finish her”.
Earlier on the same day, the Prime Minister had ordered Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov to raise before the Supreme Judicial Council the issue with the large number of permits to use Special Surveillance Devices (SSD) approved by Yaneva in the case codenamed “Worms”. Ivanov had spoken with Boyko Rashkov, (Director of the Bulgarian National Bureau for SSD Control – editor’s note), author of the report “Worms” (see here) that exposed Yaneva. We learned later that this report “simmered” for two months on the desks of people in power until the time to “finish” the boss of the SCC came.
Remarkably, Yaneva seems unperturbed by this totalitarian and corrupt management model, not resting on the rule of law, but on backstage meetings and appointments. As it will become clear later, the judge was looking for ways to “fix things” and avoid punishment through the same channels and the same methods.
I finish, you finish me, they finish us…
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Yaneva’s “finishing” was initiated after her chatting companion and colleague Chenalova attempted to “finish” with several million the French company “Belvedere” and caused the indignation of the French ambassador. People started speaking openly that under the command of Vladimira Yaneva and her runners, the Sofia City Court has become a machine for contract “finishing” and “fixing” on the orders of people in power, lobbies, business interests. Two months after Yaneva, Chenalova was also “finished” and legal charges were pressed against her. Ultimately, the entire leadership of SCC was replaced, while the report on the administrative “exploits” of Yaneva and other judges contains shocking findings.
The “finishing” procedure has a manifested and a secret side, as the story that Yaneva is telling Chenalova shows. The first happened in the Supreme Judicial Council on Thursday, February 12. Hristo Ivanov arrived at the meeting with Boyko Rashkov. The judiciary “apparatchiks”, however, refused to take a stand because Rashkov’s report was not declassified.
It was followed by a damning statement of Boyko Borisov who told reporters in Brussels that he wanted 400 years in prison for those found guilty in the case “Worms” because his then-Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov had received a four-year jail sentence. Borisov named precisely Yaneva as the one who must bear responsibility.
The secret procedure, however, was one that really worried the boss of the SCC. First, she was informed about a secret meeting between Borisov and Tsatsarov, where orders to “finish” her were issued. Second, she learned from a reliable source from the Legal World site that the prosecution was preparing to indict her as early Thursday, February 12. The actual indictment happened a week later.
The week between the two SJC meetings has been crucial for the fate of Yaneva, who decided to put up a fight. Behind-the-scenes dealings were happening then in the judiciary and the executive that shatter the illusion of any rule of law in the country.
Yaneva mobilized her lobby in the SJC and according to her words, the Head the Supreme Administrative Court, Georgi Kolev, personally committed to her protection, as demonstrated by the already published recordings. There were other meetings and bargaining with powerful individuals, about which you will learn in the sequel to “YanevaGate”
Vladimira Yaneva – VYA
Rumyana Chenalova – RCH
Man – M
VYA: Because Joro (presumably Georgi Kolev – Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court – editor’s note) called me and said they probably will not be able to collect enough votes to remove me. He told me: “It is better to remove you. Because you know what the law is? When proceedings against you are initiated, they can remove you at their discretion. But when you’re indicted, you should be removed. That is imperative. Now, if they do not remove me today, he (presumably Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarvo – editor’s note) will indict me. That is even worse. So it is better to remove me.
M: Tsetso (presumably the Interior Minister at the time – Tsvetan Tsvetanov – deitor’s note) had pressured him tremendously.
VYA: 100%, 100%
M: He went crazy.
VYA: Boyko (presumably Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov – editor’s note) pressured the Chief Prosecutor. He literally drove him crazy.
VYA: He called me last night and told me: “This is the least that I could do in this whole situation.”
VYA: Last week, on Thursday, Boyko (Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov) at the Council of Ministers, summoned Hristo Ivanov (Bulgarian Justice Minister). And he had said: “Go there and deal with these judges’ permits to use special surveillance devices (SSD). And find out if there have been any violations and raise the issue before the SJC. This happened on Wednesday at a meeting of the Council of Ministers. On Wednesday evening, he met with the Chief Prosecutor. And he told him to finish me.
RCH: Boyko did this?
VYA: Boyko. I’ll tell you later what I know and from whom; I am first telling you the sequence of facts. So on Wednesday, at the Council of Ministers…
VYA: Prior to that Boyko Rashkov (Director of the Bulgarian National Bureau for SSD Control – editor’s note) has been in his office and has brought him the report. And he has examined it. So on Wednesday, at the Council of Ministers, he has told this to the Minister. “See into these judges’ decisions and raise the issue before the Council.
VYA: On Wednesday evening, he met with the Chief Prosecutor and told him to finish me.
VYA: On Thursday, the Justice Minister raised the issue and Boyko Rashkov also arrived there.
VYA: And the Justice Minister said that he had invited him to the SJC meeting. However, he lets the following slip: “We met yesterday.”
VYA: So, Boyko Rashkov and the Justice Minister met on Wednesday.
VYA: On Thursday, the Council listened and said: This report has not been declassified.
VYA: We have no access to classified information. We cannot read it, and what stand can we take on it?
VYA: Boyko Rashkov became furious, saying that the Council did not pay attention to him and stormed out.
VYA: The Minister also became furious. But nothing happened. Boyko Borisov left on a trip to Belgium, to Brussels.
VYA: He arrived in Brussels. And before Bulgarian journalists in Brussels he says this: “This judge Vladimira Yaneva, 400 years and so on; why have you granted permissions, 300 days, what are these dealings, and so and so on.
VYA: The press attaché came and told me: “A reliable source from the Legal World magazine leaked the information to me that you will be indicted, charged and the prosecution will ask for your dismissal.
*In July 2013, Filip Zlatanov was charged by the prosecution with malfeasance in office after an “intriguing notebook” was seized from his desk. The notebook contained written instructions about a number of cases such as “to strike, to postpone, to delay, to fix and to conceal”. It also made it evident that Zlatanov complied with the instructions. The people mentioned in the notebook included Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev. There were also numerous initials believed to be of leading figures in the then (and now) ruling center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB). All of them vehemently denied any involvement. Zlatanov also adamantly denied he received instructions for his work, saying these were his own notes with ideas about how to proceed and that he forgot who the people behind the initials were. In April 2014, the Sofia City Court sentenced him to three-and-a-half years in prison and he is appealing the sentence.
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