Anonymous Witness in Preliminary Proceedings Against Acting Prosecutor General Threatened

One of the protected witnesses in the preliminary proceedings against acting Prosecutor General Borislav Sarafov received a threatening letter after the case file containing their testimony had reached the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC).

This has emerged from the SCC’s response to a question by the Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation (ACF) on how the case file against Borislav Sarafov has been handled.

Абонирайте се за бюлетина на АКФ, за да научавате за най-новите ни разследвания и анализи:

С натискане на бутона потвърждавате, че сте запознати с Политиката ни за поверителност

ACF sent its inquiry to the SCC last week. The court received the file, which included classified documents, from a prosecutor at the Sofia Regional Prosecutor’s Office (SRPO) who had concluded that the evidence presented therein justified launching an investigation against Sarafov.

“The administration of the material evidence and classified materials in this case is yet another concerning detail in the investigations on suspicions of undue influence on the legal justice system which have been initiated against the alleged criminal networks of Petyo Petrov “The Euro” and Martin Bojanov “The Notary”,” said Andrey Yankulov, senior legal expert at ACF.

In June 2023, The SRPO sent to the SCC materials from pre-trial proceedings 164/2023 of the Directorate General for Combating Organized Crime (prosecutor’s file 26636/2023 of the SRPO), initiated to investigate the criminal activity of Petyo Petrov “The Euro”. The file contained evidence concerning Borislav Sarafov[1]. Thus, an investigative procedure was initiated under the mechanism for independent investigation of the Prosecutor General and his deputies adopted last year. As per that mechanism, investigations into the Prosecutor General and his deputies are to be handled by a Special Prosecutor.

 In July 2023, Judge Daniela Taleva from the panel of the Sofia City Court was selected as the Special prosecutor and she took charge of the investigation against Sarafov. However, the Prosecutorial College of the Supreme Judicial Council only appointed her in October 2023 after an unlawful delay, which the College motivated with legislative uncertainties subject to removal. Thus, Prosecutor Taleva took office only five months following her election, in December 2023.

 Meanwhile, Yordan Petrov, a prosecutor at the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office (SCPO), requested all the documents in the case against Petro Petrov from the court, claiming that their absence hindered the investigation he was leading.

 By order of the Head of the Criminal Collegium of the SCC, Lada Paunova, dated 31 August 2023, the material evidence and secret materials were sent to the SCPO with the justification that a Special Prosecutor had not been appointed, and that the materials contained evidence concerning additional individuals besides Borislav Sarafov. 

 The response of the SCC to an inquiry by ACF has revealed that one of the protected witnesses in the criminal proceedings received a threatening letter after the SCC had been handed the case file. According to the witness, this meant that his identity had been disclosed, and he was inquiring with the involved institutions how the breach happened.

 An investigation was conducted into how the SCC had handled the classified materials. The investigation concluded that the only person who had had access to the contents of the file was Prosecutor Yordan Petrov of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office. 

 “The only person with access to the evidence should have been the Special Prosecutor. In this case, however, access to the classified files was first granted to a prosecutor from the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office. This happened while the files were still being kept at the SCC. Subsequently, all the evidence and classified documents were returned by the SCC to the Prosecutor’s Office,” said Andrey Yankulov. 

 This means that the case files have been handled by a regular prosecutor who, in contrast with the Special Prosecutor, has no legal guarantees to act independently from the Prosecutor General and his deputies. Therefore, there is a risk that any potential investigation against the Acting Prosecutor General could be obstructed since the materials have been returned under his informal control. 

 Yesterday, it became known that Prosecutor Taleva had requested the evidence back from the SCPO. However, what remains unknown is whether any proceedings have been initiated against the Acting Prosecutor General.

 We are publishing in full the detailed response that ACF has received from SCC chairwoman, Galina Zakharova.

 [1] You can see the full chronology of the movement of evidence against Sarafov in the Free Europe publication: