Reuniting Europe

My friends in Twitter asked me to explain an article they found on the web and could not fully understand. I’m happy to provide some insight.

The European Parliament CRIM committee has held on Monday evening a meeting ‘in camera’ to examine a request by two Bulgarian journalists to examine evidence relative to the alleged mafia past of current Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. This is a copy of the letter they sent to the CRIM committee.

The two journalists, Atanas Chobanov, chief editor of the website and Assen Yordanov, publisher of the website, quote from leaked cables of the US Embassy in Sofia, published by Wikileaks, which appear quite explicit.

I am quoting from one of these cables, signed by former Ambassador to Sofia from 2005 to 2008 John Beyerle. The cable is from 2006:

“[…] Accusations in years past have linked Borisov to oil-siphoning scandals, illegal deals involving LUKoil and major traffic in methamphetamines. Information from SIMO

tends to substantiate these allegations. Borisov is alleged to have used his former position as head of Bulgarian law enforcement to arrange cover for criminal deals, and his common-law wife, Tsvetelina Borislavova, manages a large Bulgarian bank that has been accused of laundering money for organized criminal groups, as well as for Borisov’s own illegal transactions. […]”

According to Chobanov, who has made thorough investigations, SIMO is sorts of secret name of CIA. It stands for “Special Investigation Methods Organization”.

Chobanov and Yordanov also base themselves on court interrogations of a convicted gangster, Vasil Kostov –Ketsa (the sneaker), according to whom since 1999 the criminal circes decided to buy for Borissov a high post in law enforcement, so that he could offer them protection. Borissov became Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the cabinet of PM Simeon Saxe-Cobourg-Gotha in the period 2001-2005. A fireman by training, he was given the title of General.

On the basis of this, and also of a refusal of the Bulgarian prosecution to investigate on the basis of the same information, Chobanov and Yordanov asked the CRIM committee to launch a probe, and to hold a hearing in the European parliament over the matter.

According to my sources, the CRIM committee voted to reject the request, by four votes against three. The chair of the CRIM Committee Sonia Alfano (ALDE, Italy), the coordinator for the S&D group Rita Borsellino (Italy) and the coordinator of the GUE/NGL group Soren Bo Sondergaard (Denmark) voted in favour of a hearing. Those against were the EPP coordinator Veronique Mathieu (France), the coordinator for ALDE Bill Neton Dunn (UK), the coordinator for ECR James Nicholson (UK) and the coordinator for EFD Mario Borgezio (Italy). The green coordinator Bart Staes (Belgium) was not present, as he is campaigning for his country’s local elections.

But is this matter buried after the CRIM vote? Chobanov and Yordanov have largely contributed to the resignation of Bulgarian commissioner-designate Rumiana Jeleva in 2010. Positioning her as Commissioner was according to them giving the mafia ears and a vote in the EU executive. I wouldn’t expect them to give up.

More US cables describing Borisov:

In the meantime, Euronews asked Borisov a question about his ‘colorful’ past.

Watch video, read transcript.

He answered: “I have an excellent past record. These are inventions by Mr Stanishev and his accomplices.”

“All of my movements and actions are transparent and I don’t depend on anyone.”

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