The Customs Agency denied access to information whether the Customs officers from the infamous notebook of Roma clan boss Tsar Kiro had probed the latter’s factory producing illegal alcohol in Katunitsa. Bivol requested this information under the Access to Public Information Act (API), together with references about the career advancement of three Customs agents marked as “emergency contacts” in the infamous document. It leaked to the media two months ago, and the former Head of the Customs Agency, Vanio Tanov, and the current Head of the Interior Ministry, Tsvetlin Yovchev, confirmed its authenticity. There are currently no results from the probe assigned by the prosecution.
According to the decision of the Customs Agency to provide access to information, specific probes of facilities conducted by these employees are not of public interest, thus they should not be disclosed under APIA. Bivol will appeal the decision in the Sofia Administrative Court.
The three provided references show that the Customs staff are exemplary and have never been sanctioned.
Tatiana Lacheva, whose name is mentioned the most in the notebook, along with the one of her husband, is currently Chief Inspector in the Customs Agency, “Excise Legislation” department, “Follow-up Control” unit of TCO (Territorial Customs Office) in the city of Plovdiv . She is a longstanding Customs’ staff and was appointed tax inspector in 1992. She has two Masters’ Degrees: in Political Economy from the University of National and World Economy in 1987 and in Law from the Veliko Tarnovo University in 2007. Lacheva has undergone training in “technology of the manufacturing processes of alcohol, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and energy products.” From 2010 to 2012, the evaluation of her effectiveness is listed as “performance above requirements.” She has no awards or sanctions.
Dimo Boev, who is also mentioned often in the notebook and who uses a Honduran phone number for his conversations with Tsar Kiro, is inspector in the “Excise Duty” department of Plovdiv’s Customs. He started his career in 2005 as technical assistant. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and a Master’s Degree in Regional Development Planning from the Thracian University. His evaluation of meeting the job requirements was “above requirements” for 2010 and 2011, and “fully aligned with requirements” in 2012.
The third Plovdiv Customs officer, whose phone number is listed as “in case of emergency” in the notebook, is Diana Stoyanova. She has a Master’s Degree in Preschool Pedagogy from the Pedagogical University in Blagoevgrad and in Law from the Veliko Tarnovo University. She began working in the Customs in 1993 as Customs inspector in Plovdiv and is currently State Inspector with rank “Senior,” also there. Her career reference does not include information on meeting requirements, specializations, sanctions and awards.
Asked about the notebook, Vanio Tanov said that he had met with the former Head of the State Agency for National Security (DANS), Konstantin Kazakov, to learn the names of the Customs’ officers. As a seasoned anti-mafia policeman, he decided to not deal with his employees while the services investigated them. “I did not meet with these employees as we reached an agreement with the colleagues that they will continue the operational investigation in this notebook to prove if there was such illegal activity on the part of my staff.”
Among the “colleagues,” however, is the current Head of the National Security Agency unit in Plovdiv, Dimitar Vlahov, whose name is also recorded in the notebook on the page “emergency contacts,” together with the numbers of Customs officers receiving money to provide cover-up for the industrial production of fake alcohol in Katunitsa. Vlahov was promoted Chief of DANS Plovdiv in September 2013 by the present DANS Head Vladimir Pisanchev, who was appointed by the current government.
Another “colleague,” who is on the emergency numbers’ list, is Anton Spassov – Senior Inspector and Head of Group in the “Combating Economic Crime” unit in Plovdiv. He was awarded by former Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, in April 2011, with “Honorary Medal of the Ministry of Interior.”
As Bivol wrote, Tsar Kiro’s notebook is proof of the total cover-up provided by authorities for the infamous Plovdiv entrepreneur.
The fading of the scandal and the refusal of the Custom’s Agency to provide information of obvious public interest, however, confirmed the expectations of the person who sent the pages from the notebook to the media with a too-skeptical note: “Nothing will be done with this.”
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