site.btaUPDATED Prosecutor General Geshev: Now Is Turning Point for Judiciary to Get Rid of Political Influence
Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev Monday talked about the need to end political influence on the judiciary and went into some detail about a May 1 roadside blast near his car. He called a briefing after he was questioned by the Sofia City Prosecution Office as part of a check into influence peddling and an alert filed by Deputy Prosecutor General Borislav Sarafov.
Geshev said he had talked to the Sofia City Prosecution Office about everyday corruption and influence peddling.
Geshev defends the judiciary
The Prosecutor General said now is a turning point for the judiciary to get rid of political influence exerted through the political quota in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), as well as to end any unauthorized attempts to violate constitutional principles and the rule of law. Now is the time for Bulgarian magistrates to show that they are independent, that they will not allow a violation of fundamental European values and will stop oligarchs and the mafia from doing what they have done so far, Geshev said.
In his view, it is a myth that the Prosecutor General is omnipotent and that the Bulgarian prosecution service protects someone - the prosecution service works only in the interest of Bulgarian citizens.
It is a fact that the politicians are closing ranks, this shows that the prosecution service is doing its job in the interest of the Bulgarian citizens, Geshev said, adding that legislation submitted by Justice Minister Krum Zarkov was part of a plot. He was referring to a bill amending the Code of Criminal Procedure to set in place a mechanism for investigating the Prosecutor General, which was passed by Parliament on first reading on May 19.
The entire academic community and every Bulgarian lawyer knows that this law is unconstitutional and the Constitutional Court will have to pronounce on it. This law fits perfectly into the conspiracy. It does not aim to deal with the economic and demographic crisis, the numerous deaths on the road, or organized crime. Geshev also talked about problems including thriving drug use, road accidents, a return to the dark times of the 1990s.
Geshev also said he would talk at a closed-door meeting of the SJC Plenum so as "to preserve the prestige of the judiciary". He, however, will ask the SJC members who "tried to stage a coup in the judiciary" to recuse themselves.
He was referring to members of the SJC Prosecutors Chamber who moved for Geshev's replacement on May 12. Their proposal cites "gross violation of official duties". The motion was signed by six out of the 11 members of the Prosecutors Chamber, which includes the Prosecutor General.
Details about May 1 blast near Geshev's car
Geshev said he would clarify in greater detail the May 1 roadside explosion close to his car near Samokov, South Western Bulgaria. He called it "an attack on the state, on its normal functioning, an attack on European values, such as the rule of law, on principles on which any democratic society, of which we are part, is built".
Geshev said it all started with hints that it would be best for his family if he joined a political project or became ambassador to Israel or Turkiye. He found the offer "strange and offensive" because he is determined not to allow the prosecution service to be taken over.
The Prosecutor General linked the blast to his statement that if Putin arrived in Bulgaria, he should be turned over to the International Criminal Court. Geshev made this statement in an interview with Faktor.bg while visiting Ukraine.
He commented for the first time on the presence of an Israeli expert on the scene of the blast. He said National Investigation Service Deputy Director Yasen Todorov had told him the expert was visiting Bulgaria and had offered to see the scene. In Geshev's words, the expert said the attack had been prepared professionally for weeks or even months.
Geshev stressed repeatedly that he could not have violated his official duties because he was away after the blast and Borislav Sarafov was deputizing for him. Returning from the United States in early May, Geshev received a threatening letter, which he showed to the reporters. The message told him to resign by 10am Monday morning "or else somebody will press Enter".
Then Geshev communicated with SJC member Yordan Stoev and GERB leader Boyko Borissov.
Afterwards, a member of Geshev's staff received a memory stick with a recorded conversation allegedly between Geshev and Stoev. The recording was played at a meeting attended by Sarafov, who then filed the alert against the Prosecutor General
The reporters heard the 35-minute recording of the conversation, in which two men discuss Geshev's possible resignation for personal reasons and mention "Boyko", presumably GERB leader Boyko Borissov, as the main engine behind the idea.
On May 11, GERB-UDF's Prime Minister designate Mariya Gabriel presented her priorities, starting with the removal of the Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev. "The first thing that the justice minister in my cabinet will do is to submit to the SJC a request for Ivan Geshev's dismissal (as Prosecutor General) due to damaging the Judiciary's reputation," Gabriel said.
"I have never considered handing in my resignation," he said.
He did not take questions from reporters.