Bivol received a formal response from the Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) of the European Commission stating that SRSS is looking into the petition for inclusion of the case “Yaneva Gate” in the independent inspection of the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office by European prosecutors and SRSS will come back to the petitioners in due course.

More than 1,300 people signed the online petition initiated by Bivol and disseminated through social networks.

The petition insists that the preliminary probe in the case “Yaneva Gate”, launched by Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office, must be included in the list of cases that will be subject to the independent inspection planned by the European Commission with the participation of prosecutors from several EU countries.

It stresses that recordings of conversations between magistrates, known as “Yaneva Gate”, paint a grim picture of corruption, dependencies, unacceptable interference of the executive power in the judiciary and ethical violations by senior magistrates.

The fact that “Yaneva Gate” was quoted in the latest monitoring report of the European Commission under the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification (CVM) with the following comment: “it will be important for the credibility of the process that all steps are taken to ensure that investigation takes place in a transparent and impartial manner” is also noted as an argument for the inclusion of this pending prosecutor’s case in the inspection.

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The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) refused to conduct a substantive investigation, while the probe, launched by the prosecution, is dragging without visible results. The petitioners stress that the monitoring of this case is crucial to ensuring a transparent, objective and impartial actions by the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office because part of the evidence, exposed by the recordings, calls into question the integrity of the most influential figures in the State: Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

What the investigation failed to achieve so far?

The investigation into the “Yaneva Gate” recordings is being conducted by the Investigative Division of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, better known as “Tsatsarov’s Special Unit”. As the authorities cite investigation secrecy, little is known about the progress of this probe, but there is no information that it has turned into pre-trial proceedings due to evidence of trading influence and abuse of office. There is no information about its termination either.

Back in December 2015, Bivol published a series of questions to be clarified by the then still-unfinished probe of the Ethics Commission of the SJC in order to claim extensiveness, thoroughness and independence of the investigation. The case was, however, “finished” by the SJC putting it on the fast-track and concluded with the view that there was no violation of the Magistrate Code of Ethics.

The same questions should be clarified by the prosecutorial investigation. The petition to have it monitored by the European Commission aims to prevent another “finishing” and termination with a view to renounce criminal proceedings without examining all facts and circumstances. Such is the regular practice of the members of Tsatsarov’s “special unit”, specifically selected to decide cases according to the political situation. The latest striking example of this is the termination of the probe into the credit cards with huge limits, granted to the boss of the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC), Stoyan Mavrodiev, despite evidence of a crime involving forged documents that was completely ignored by the prosecutor.

Questions to Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov

Did he have a meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in the evening of Wednesday, February 11, 2015 and did he discuss with him then the case “Worms” and the role of judge Vladimira Yaneva in it? Did Borisov urge him to indict Yaneva?

Did he have a meeting with Vladimira Yaneva on Friday, February 13, 2015? Did he comment with Yaneva the proceedings in the case “Worms”? Did he promise to Yaneva that he would try to “mask things” so that if there was a violation it would look like Yaneva was “misled”?

Did he attend an informal meeting with members of the SJC on February 17, 2015, at dusk? Did he instruct members of the SJC that Yaneva should be removed? Who are the members of the SJC who attended the meeting?

Did he call Vladimira Yaneva in the evening of Wednesday, February 18, 2015, from his office phone? Did he tell her that the prosecution will initiate proceedings against her and that he will submit to the SJC a request for her suspension?

Questions to the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, Georgi Kolev

Was he invited to a meeting with Sotir Tsatsarov on February 17, 2015, at dusk? Who invited him? Does he know who was present at this meeting? Did he talk with Yaneva on February 18 and 19, 2015 about her forthcoming suspension by the SJC? Did he plot a “conspiracy” with SJC members on February 19, 2015, at the meeting to suspend Yaneva?

Questions to the Head of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office Hristo Dinev

Did he have a meeting with Vladimira Yaneva on February 13, 2015? Did he discuss with her investigative actions which concerned her? Did he discuss with her procedural actions of the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office such as requesting documents from the Sofia City Court (SCC)?

Questions to the Chair of the SJC Ethical Committee Yasen Todorov

Did he call Vladimira Yaneva on Tuesday, February 17, 2015? Did he tell Yaneva on the phone or in person that Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had sent to him a trusted person to tell him not to touch her?

Questions to SJC Member Dimitar Uzunov

Did he have any correspondence with Prime Minister Borisov regarding Vladimira Yaneva? Did he deliver messages from the Prime Minister to Yaneva by phone or on Viber? Did he talk to Milka Itova about Yaneva’s case?

Questions to SJC Member Milka Itova

Did she talk with Dimitar Uzunov about Yaneva between February 13 and 17? Did she convey the content of the conversation to Vladimira Yaneva?

Did she meet with Teddy Drenska after Tuesday, February, 17, 2015, and did she discuss with her a meeting of SJC members with Sotir Tsatsarov where Tsatsarov had given instructions to suspend Yaneva? Who are the SJC members who attended the meeting?

Questions to SJC Member Teddy Drenska

Did she notify Vladimira Yaneva by phone about information obtained from Milka Itova on the meeting of SJC members with Sotir Tsatsarov on February, 17, 2015, where Tsatsarov had said that Yaneva should be suspended?

In addition, the printouts of the phone records of those involved for the period 13 to 19 February 2015, printouts from Yaneva’s Viber account for the same period, recordings from the main Courthouse security cameras in front of the office of the Prosecutor General from Friday, February 13, 2015, and a printout from the Courthouse PBX to include the office phone calls of the Prosecutor General on February 18, 2015, should be requested as well.

It is also appropriate to question Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, and to ask him whether he bought a house in Barcelona for a lady that was close to him and if this is the case, what is the origin of the funds for such an acquisition.

Bivol will continue to monitor the case and the development of the probe. The editorial office commissioned and paid with funds from donations from readers an independent expert examination of one of the recordings from the “Yaneva Gate” saga. The renowned laboratory “Acustek”, based in Ireland, wrote in its expert report, signed by a leading specialist in the field of audio analyzes that “the analysis of continuity and simultaneity of audio acts and events, background acoustics did not reveal any editing or manipulation features”. The opposite opinion belongs to an unnamed expert, who has prepared an unpublished expert report, commissioned by the prosecution. The SJC took the decision to terminate its probe without consequences for the individuals involved in the scandal namely on the basis of this mystery expertise.

 

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