How is it possible to arrange a court decision of releasing from prison to house arrest? Who are the ‘professionals’ with influence over the judges of the Specialized Court? How much does it cost, and how long does it take to deliver the “service”?
The Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF) published today the first part of its new investigation, “List for Quick Control: The story of Veselin Denkov and the Specialized Judiciary,” which includes eyewitness accounts and recordings of secret conversations with people with contacts in the judiciary.
Veselin Denkov is an owner of popular Sofia restaurants arrested in September 2020 on charges of participating in an organized criminal group for usury. The recordings of a series of conversations between Ivayla Bakalova, Veselin Denkov’s partner, and persons who were not particularly well-known until now reveal who are the “helpers” with influence in the judiciary.
A few quotes from real conversations which take place in April 2021 give an idea of exactly how corruption and arranging court decisions are discussed:
Are you sure you can get it done?
Yes. We won’t tell you the details…
And you’re talking in person to whom?
We don’t know anyone. We talk to God. We go to the church, light a candle, pray.
Who’s talking to who – that’s none of your business, that’s our business. You want the result.
In return, what we’re going to do is change his measure, you know, that’s what’s wanted, that’s the job.
It won’t be 20. It won’t be 30; it won’t be 40. It will be more. You should know that.
It’s probably going to be over 100. Do you understand me?
100 000 – what – leva?
One of the people on the records is attorney Emil Piskov, a former employee of the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and the State Agency for National Security. He lives in a declared cohabitation with Judge Margarita Nemska of the Sofia City Administrative Court, a former deputy city prosecutor of Sofia.
His “colleague” is Martin Bojanov, who presents himself as a consultant and is known as “The Notary.” Publications link him to dubious property deals, and one of them immediately catches the eye. It is about a casefile stolen in 2004 from the Supreme Court of Cassation against Slavi Krashevski, a notary with revoked rights and dozens of criminal proceedings. The case disappeared from the court’s lawyers’ room during the lunch break, along with original documents on it. A pre-trial proceeding against a man named “Martin Bojanov” and a relative of his called “Boyko Bojanov” has been filed for the theft. Still, the outcome of the case is unknown.
“I have not been convicted and have no pending proceedings. So far.” is the only comment Bojanov made when asked for an interview.
“There is material for a serious investigation of corruption influences and practices in the judiciary in the recordings released in the film,” commented Andrey Yankulov, a former prosecutor and senior legal expert at the ACF.
The author of the film is the investigative journalist Nikolay Staykov.
The presented episode “Talking to God” is the first part of the investigation “List for Quick Control: The story of Veselin Denkov and the Specialized Judiciary.”
You can view the episode here.
You can watch the complete interviews with Martin Bojanov and Emil Piskov here.