On Monday, Bivol published information that Dostena Angelova-Laverne, a candidate for the European elections on the ballot of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with good chance to win a seat, was convicted by a court in Strasbourg to pay a fine of 1 000 euro for child hiding (keeping a child from the other parent or a person who has rights to the child).

The first reaction came from the site of newly-hatched, controversial Bulgarian politician and former journalist Nicholay Barekov – Bnews. Laverne’s mother Maria Pirgova, who is also a known public figure, denied that her daughter had been tried and convicted. Later, Laverne herself labeled Bivol’s information “slander and lie.” Speaking for the site OFFNews, she even threatened to sue our media.

Bivol formally requested a copy of the rule and the verdict. It is a criminal offense and it can be made available to anyone completing and sending the required form.

Today we had again a conversation with the secretariat of the court in Strasbourg. An officer of the court confirmed that Dostena Laverne has been sentenced to a fine of 1 000 euros and the conviction is criminal (penal). She can appeal the sentence within ten days. We also learned also that the timeframe to obtain a copy of the sentence is one month minimum.

The conversation clarified one additional detail: the magistrates ruled to not log the sentence in the court file. So, formally, Laverne may present a document for clean criminal record.

According to the French Penal Code, failure to surrender a child is a misdemeanor (thus this is not an administrative offense). The penalty is one year imprisonment and a fine of up to 15 000 euros. The sentences are generally recorded in the criminal file for 10 years, unless the judge decides otherwise. That is what happened with Laverne’s case. Thus, according to Bulgarian and French law, there are no formal obstacles for her to run for a MEP seat.

In her public appearances on Tuesday, Laverne also said that the information came from “tabloids”, apparently referring to Bivol. Thus, she stood together with former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov AKA Buddha (the name of the secret services’ file that exposed his criminal past) who labeled WikiLeaks a “tabloid” over the publication of US diplomatic cables describing this same criminal past.

Laverne lives in Strasbourg and works as journalist in political culture magazine and teaches anthropology at the University of Strasbourg. She was nominated for the BSP ballot by a group of Bulgarian left-wing intellectuals.


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