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A pistol on the dessert, in the half-open drawer, bundles of € 500 bills and gold bars

The suspects

Digital signpost through traffic

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov at the press conference after the photos were published. Screenshot of YouTube video

Compromising eavesdropping and photos from his bedroom put Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov under pressure

Bulgaria is currently experiencing its second wave of the coronavirus epidemic or the peak of the first? In view of that overall lower infection and death rates argue excellently. However, it is indisputable that the castle peace that prevailed during the Corona state of emergency has given way to old normality. It is characterized by a rapid succession of bizarre corruption scandals and relentless political confrontations.

“We have made recording with smartphones a kind of national sport,” commented Attorney General Ivan Geschev the Publication of eight photos from Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s bedroom through the radical oppositional online medium Afera.bg last Wednesday.

The photo leak led to a bizarre neighborhood dispute between Prime Minister Borissov and President Rumen Radev. It scandalizes the Bulgarian public to such an extent that it takes a back seat to the fact that the Balkan country, with up to 132 infected people a day, is just recording the peak values ​​of its coronavirus epidemic.

Two villas are located on the extensive grounds of the residence of the former communist head of state and party, Todor Schivkov, in Sofia’s posh suburb of Bojana. Prime Minister Borissov resides in the Villa Sefkoja and Head of State Radev in the neighboring Villa Kalina. “The president takes the liberty of flying a drone to film me. They told me from the state security that the Chinese gave him the drone,” said the Prime Minister on a call immediately called press conference after the photos from his bedroom appear. A few dozen ministers and partisans strengthened his back with applause.

“I flew planes and also drones,” commented Air Force General a. D. Radev owning a drone. “My drone is so good that it can penetrate bedrooms, create records, open drawers and stuff euros into them,” he ironized the image content of the leaked photos. They show the half-naked head of government sleeping in his bed. A pistol lies on the dessert, from the half-open drawer of which there are thick bundles of 500 € notes and gold bars. Actually, he did not want to comment on Borissov’s claim, since it was an overflowing imagination and paranoia, according to Radev. At the moment, “Borissov himself is the greatest threat to his government – through the things he talks about”.

The publication of the photos came just five days after Afera’s Had published a recording of a phone call. In it, a man with Borissov’s voice and tone cynically and vulgarly comments on events from the spring of 2019 immediately before the European elections. The man who was supposed to be Borissov said that he had set up the formally independent commission on financial supervision (KFN) on a well-known stock corporation to crush its boss because he had shown himself to him to be unreasonable.

Elsewhere, he pays homage to the President of the Bulgarian People’s Assembly, Tsveta Karajantscheva, in an unfathomable manner that cannot be quoted. “This is another falsification, a miserable attempt by a compromat,” said the President of Parliament on this. “We are used to it, we don’t deal with it at all. Elections are imminent and that’s why it all happens.”

“There are no bad advertisements”Prime Minister Borissov said calmly about the publication of the telephone recording. Although he also denied the authenticity of the recording, he made no effort to have it checked. In contrast, he reacted much more excitedly to the publication of the photos. “The goal is to crush us mentally and then physically attack us afterwards,” he warned at the press conference on Wednesday. President Radev and the opposition socialists apparently wanted to overthrow the government of his conservative party “Citizens for a European Development in Bulgaria” (GERB) to set up a transitional government. This could block Bulgaria’s way into the euro zone and direct billions in new, opportune directions, Borissov analyzed.

A year before the parliamentary elections in spring 2021, two aspects of the affair are waiting to be clarified: are the tapes and photos authentic sources or – as Borissov claims – deep fakes? Regardless of the outcome of this question the Bulgarians are interested in the authorship of the compromises.

Vasil Boschkov is considered by many to be a plausible candidate for the intrigue. In January 2020, the government practically expropriated the gambling tycoons by law and chased them out of the country. After he was able to become the richest of the Bulgarians, undisturbed by changing power relationships in thirty years, and thereby built up a significant collection of archaeological artefacts from the time of the ancient Thracians, the public prosecutor declared him the country’s greatest criminal from one day to the next. She accuses him of not only a debt of BGN 700 million (around € 350 million) withheld gaming fees, but also a number of other serious crimes up to and including Rape and Order Murders.

From his exile in Dubai bombed Vasil Boschkov now sends signals to the Bulgarian public to prove the corrupt nature of the Borissov cabinet. The head of government and his finance minister Vladislav Goranov have received many millions of BGN in bribes and taxes from him without worry, so as not to hinder his national lottery in its business, he claims. “My phone has no Cyrillic letters at all”, tried Borissov to refute the authenticity of a facsimile of a telephone chat with him published by Boschkov on his Facebook page.

At the press conference last Wednesday, Borissov suddenly confirmed the exchange of short text messages with Boschkov on the subject of a transfer of football professionals. It is not Borissov’s only contradicting statement that questions his credibility in the affair.

Meanwhile, Vasil Boschkov has announced his own start a political project called “Bulgarian Summer”. He wanted to help to overthrow the “ruling junior of Boiko Borissov” and to re-establish the sovereignty of law in Bulgaria. Against this background, Boschkov’s authorship of the Kompromat seems obvious, but it is by no means sufficiently proven. After intermittent eleven years of autocratic rule, Boiko Borissov has more than enough political enemies who could also be conspirators.

One of them is called Tsvetan Tsvetanov, his longstanding deputy as GERB party leader and former interior minister. Around a year ago, Tsvetanov had to resign from all political offices as a result of an affair about the discounted purchase of a luxury apartment (Bulgarian Monopoly). Then he founded his think tank Euro-Atlantic Security Center (EASC). Most recently, he was ambitious to return to the political stage with his own project.

On the day of publication of the Borissov compromising photos explained Tsvetanov resigned from the ruling party GERB after one year of passive membership. “It is no longer the party I have been associated with for many years,” he said.

Especially during his time as interior minister in the Borissov I cabinet from 2009 to 2013, Tsvetanov did not show himself squeamish in his alleged methods of fighting corruption and crime. The so-called became legendary Tsetsomobil, a Chrysler Voyager equipped with radio antennas and bugging technology, which during his tenure could often be seen on a mission on the streets of Sofia.

Two convictions for unlawful eavesdropping were issued by courts against Tsvetanov until he finally served has been acquitted of all allegations Because of his weakness in the use of eavesdropping and surveillance technology, some observers trust him to stab his former mentor Borissov in order to achieve personal political goals. He also belongs to the narrow circle of suspects in the Compromatic War against the Borissov III cabinet.

Boiko Borissov voluntarily resigned from his position as Prime Minister twice, and yet his party GERB emerged as the strongest political force in the early elections. Even the mud battle with Vasil Boschkov, which has been going on for months, has not changed the fact that in opinion polls from the beginning of June 2020, Borissov with 38% approval rate asserts itself as the most popular politician in the favor of the electorate. In the Sunday question his party GERB with 21.8% is a good 10% ahead of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

Nevertheless, the recent compromises could endanger political stability in Bulgaria. If the photograph of the 500 euro notes in the bedside drawers turned out to be real, a political earthquake would be likely, but that the Bulgarian public prosecutor’s office will actually verify its authenticity is by no means certain.
(Frank Bull)

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