Four Arrested in Two Investigations, Offices of President's Administration Searched

Sofia, July 9 (BTA) - Four persons were arrested Thursday,
including a presidential secretary and a presidential advisor,
and offices of the President's administration were searched in
two investigations: for trade in influence and for disclosure of
 state secrets, said the prosecution office here.

The Specialized Prosecution Office said Plamen Uzunov, who is
President Rumen Radev's Legal Affairs and Anti-Corruption
Secretary, was detained for 24 hours on Thursday as part of an
investigation into abuse of office and trading in influence.
Earlier in the day, a search of offices of the President's
administration was launched by prosecutors, representatives of
the Interior Ministry, the Witness Protection Bureau and
certifying witnesses.

The search was authorized by the Sofia Military Court and the
Specialized Criminal Court.

The prosecuting magistracy said a search and seizure of
documents and computers was conducted in two offices in the
building of the President's administration, used by an advisor
and a secretary of President Radev. Talking from the
north-central town of Gabrovo, Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev
said this was done as part of the two separate pre-trial
proceedings, for trade in influence and disclosure of state

As part of the investigation into trading in influence, the
Specialized Prosecution Office has previously questioned as
witnesses Plamen Uzunov and businessman Plamen Bobokov, who were
 found to have communicated with each other for a long period of
 time and the prosecution service has made public text messages
between them concerning the arrest of a Libyan oil tanker and
proposals for ambassadorial appointments, among various other

The other investigation, which looks into disclosure of a state
secret and is conducted by the District Military Prosecution
Office, led Thursday to the detention of a former officer of the
 State Agency for National Security (SANS), identified as M.K.,
and the President's Security and Defence Advisor Iliya
Miloushev. Miloushev, who has been questioned several times as a
 witness, was found to have information concerning the State
Agency for Technical Operations in his phone. He voluntarily
turned in four documents which constituted a state secret and
had been removed without authorization from the State
Intelligence Agency. Miloushev explained that he found them in
his office safe in the building of the President's

The SANS said on its website that it withdrew on Thursday the
access to top secret  information of two senior officers of the
President's administration, identified only as I.M. and P.U.
According to unofficial reports, they are Iliya Miloushev and
Plamen Uzunov. The SANS said this step was based on information
that the two were unreliable in terms of information security
and protection under the Classified Information Protection Act.

As part of the pre-trial proceedings, two more persons,
identified as P.V. and A.Z, were charged and put under house

Socialist party believes in President's integrity

Following the arrest of two members of his administration and
the searches in offices of the Presidency, the opposition
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) issued a statement for the press
 to say that it believes in the integrity of the President and
that what happened Thursday is "an unprecedented act which
undermines the foundations of Bulgarian statehood".

Radev was backed by BSP in his presidential bid two years ago
and the party has been supporting him throughout.

The statement also says that in the past weeks Radev has come
under a ruthless attack by the majority in Parliament and the
executive power branch, and they were joined Thursday by the

"BSP respects the rule of law but would not accept the
ostentation and pursuit of publicity in the Thursday actions by
the prosecution magistracy," said the statement.

Bobokov arrested

In a separate development Thursday, the authorities arrested
Plamen Bobokov in the same trade-in-influence probe. It was his
lawyer who told the press about it. He said the arrest was
illegal as detention was a measure that could not be applied at
this stage of the investigation.

Bobokov, who was little known until recently but is nonetheless
one of Bulgaria's largest business owners, was first remanded in
 May in connection with an unlawful waste case - of which the 
trade-in-influence probe was a spinoff - and was released in
June on a 1 million leva bail.

Protest in support of President and other reactions

Addressing a rally in support of the head of State in front of
the building of the presidential administration, President Rumen
 Radev said: "The Bulgarian mafia has achieved the impossible:
it has united honest people against it. It is up to all of us to
 throw the mafia out of the Executive. To throw the mafia out of
 the prosecution service, which the mafia is using in the most
ruthless manner: as a shield and for political repressions."
Radev came out of the building to meet the protestors together
with Vice President Iliana Iotova.

The Bulgarian National Radio reported about dozens of
participants who gathered in front of that building while the
raid was taking place in offices of the presidential
administration. Approached for comment, they said they had
organized themselves on social media and had gathered
spontaneously in defence of democracy. The demonstrators booed
the vehicles of the prosecuting magistracy when they were
leaving the courtyard of the building.

The protestors' numbers grew as the day progressed. At some
point, part of the protestors blocked traffic in the area
between the Council of Ministers building, the building of the
presidential administration, and the building of Parliament's
administration. Another part of the protestors joined a
procession that headed towards the Palace of Justice, chanting
"Resignation" and "Mafia".
Among the protestors were lawyer Nikolay Hadjigenov, political
analyst  Arman Babikyan, Bulgarian Socialist Party figures,
including  Socialist MPs Roumen Gechev, Alexander Simov and
Kroum Zarkov, the Bulgarian National Radio reported.

Meanwhile, ran comments by prominent criminal lawyer
Daniela Dokovska and human rights lawyer Mihail Ekimdjiev.

Dokovska said: "Armed persons entering and occupying the 
building of the President's administration is impossible in any
civilized country. This is a brutal sacrilege of the 
institution [of the  President] and of statehood. This is a
barbarian incursion."

Ekimdjiev said: "One can now refer to a genuine pogrom against
the Constitution and a prosecutorial coup against the
institution of the president."

Equal standards

Approached for comment on the prosecution service's search in
offices of the President's administration, Prosecutor General
Ivan Geshev said that the prosecuting magistracy applies equal
standards in its work.  "We do not apply different standards
depending on whether we are dealing with the Prime Minister, the
 President, [Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) founder
Ahmed] Dogan, [MP of MRF/business owner Delyan] Peevski. How is
the President's administration any different than the other
state institutions? The only difference is that the only
untouchable person in Bulgaria is the President because of his
full immunity. The President's secretary and advisor do not have
 immunity, we have authorization and it is normal to investigate
 them when the prosecutors consider there is enough evidence of
crimes committed," said Geshev.



Source: Sofia