Firsthand revelations about uncontrolled snooping in Bulgaria

Top Bulgarian Politicians Are Massively Snooping and This Is How They Deal Blows

#YanevaGate, Season 3, Episode 3

Judge Vladimira Yaneva is making shocking revelations about the unlimited and arbitrary wiretapping by the “services” in the next portion of recordings of her conversations with her colleague Rumyana Chenalova and attorney Momchil Mondeshki. There were “thousands of tricks” to circumvent the law, in Yaneva’s own words, and she reveals them in greater detail. Ceco (Tsvetan Tsvetanov – former Interior Minister and leading figure in the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB – editor’s note) and Boyko (Boyko Borisov – second-term Bulgarian Prime Minister and GERB leader – editor’s note) have used these “opportunities” and “this is what makes them strong” and “this is how they are dealing blows”,  concludes Mondeshki.

As seen from the previous recording, Yaneva has been hastily signing warrants for the use of spying equipment (Special Surveillance Devices, SSD) between her appointments at the hairdresser and chatting with colleagues.

And in the morning I had made an appointment at the hairdresser. And I just went to sign some SSD authorizations and finish what there was and see you and then get my suitcases ready and travel.

Obviously, being in such a hurry, she cannot research in detail the motivation, the causes and content of requests for wiretapping from different services.

Recordings from the previous season of Yaneva Gate have also revealed that the ousted “boss” of the Sofia City Court (SCC) has signed more than 15,000 applications for the use of SSD. She had sent this information to Boyko Borisov via text messages.

“And l sent Boyko a text message. And I wrote this. So he’s in Brussels. This happened on Thursday. No I’m sorry, I have not violated the law. In addition, in four years I have signed over 15,000 SSD.”

Because of such warrants in the so-called case “Worms”, where there has been eavesdropping on the entire information system of the Ministry of Interior, Vladimira Yaneva was “finished” – suspended by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and sentenced to one year probation. The “finishing”, according to Yaneva, happened on the orders of Prime Minister Borisov, who pressured Prosecutor General, Sotir Tsatsarov. All these actions are, of course, in breach of the law and expose inadmissible interference of the executive in the judiciary.

Yaneva’s words reveal that she has not only signed SSD warrants by the kilo, but has been fully aware of her actions and has done it in order not to obstruct the work of the services and “in their favor”. “It is not my business to dig in there,” as she explains.

The former boss of the SCC was appointed to the post with a scandal, under pressure from her family friend Tsvetan Tsvetanov. She was appointed without the necessary experience, but has demonstrated loyalty by not willing to “dig in”.

The biggest scandals with illegal wiretapping in the country happened exactly during the first government term of Borisov, with Tsvetan Tsvetanov as Interior Minister. Nevertheless, Tsvetanov was acquitted by the Court. Suspicions that the services are using the collected information for political and business blackmail, have accompanied the first government “Borisov”, the next one – of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, and the current second-term Borisov government. Such obedient judges as Yaneva, who do not consider “digging in” as part of their work, play a key role in the lack of control by the courts.

There are two major loopholes in the law that still persist – lack of a single registry for applications for SSD to the courts and the possibility of multiple agencies to consecutively  eavesdrop on a person. In addition, Yaneva hints of possible manipulation of court registries.

The lack of a single registry allows the services to circumvent the district courts in the country and be granted warrants to spy on the same person after the expiry of the maximum period of 180 days, allowed by the first court. Theoretically, with 30 competent courts in the country

a person can be wiretapped in the course of 15 years without interruption

In reality, however, some district courts look seriously at their supervisory role. An expert from the Technical Information Directorate of the police admitted during parliamentary debates on changing the SSD Act in 2013 that it would be very difficult to get a warrant from the court in the city of Gabrovo. In the capital Sofia, however, there has been no such problem, at least until Yaneva was President of the SSC.

The other “trick” for limitless snooping is connected to different services being allowed to transfer to each other SSD applied to the one and same person – the National Security Agency (DANS), then the Prosecutor’s Office, then the Internal Security of the Ministry of the Interior , as Yaneva lists them in the recording. Chenalova concludes that by using the scheme, two years of uninterrupted wiretapping would not be a problem.

Our registry, even our registry…

This is what Yaneva further says and it reveals that the keeping of the registry in the SCC is hiding some further secrets. In previous conversations the judge has said that wiretaps of foreign embassies have been listed there as well:

“I am running on Friday to Itso Dimov (Hristo Dinev from the Appelate Prosecutor’s Office – editor’s note). And I tell him: “Itso-o-o, the file is with you. Tell me what the situation is? Itso Dimov says: “Vladi (from Vladimira – editor’s note), there is no such information and we are not working in this direction. Only, please give us the information we want. Cuz there was a dispute as they wanted the register for six months, and I told them: “Request the register only for the SSD that interest you, why are you asking for the entire register? And I say: “I am nervous to give it to you, because there are things in it about embassies, about this and that, and so on, such information…”

In addition to spying on embassies, which is completely illegal under all international conventions, Yaneva’s concerns are apparently related “to this and that”.  The case “Worms” made it clear that there have been no restrictions on spying on facilities, unlike wiretapping of persons. Could “this” and “that” be institutions, not specific individuals, thereby interception of communications between thousands of people?

After all these revelations about thousands of tricks, allowing virtually uncontrolled and limitless wiretapping, as long as “we have the will,” attorney Momchil Mondeshki makes a logical conclusion:

“This means that this makes Boyko and Ceco strong and they are using it to deal blows, because they know some things about this, right?”

Mondeshki is hardly speaking here about dealing blows to crime in the country. Rather, he most likely has in mind blackmailing political opponents and causing fear.

Listen to the recording here (in Bulgarian):



Listen to the recording with a sound filter here (in Bulgarian):



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