We are publishing the position of the Chairman of the Commission for Anticorruption and the Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Property (CAPIAF) Sotir Tsatsarov about an interview with Yavor Zlatanov, followed by a comment of the Anti-Corruption Fund:
MR BOIKO STANKUSHEV
On October 4th, 2021, the Anti-Corruption Fund published on its website an interview of Nikolay Staykov and Andrey Yankulov with Yavor Zlatanov, with the title “One year later: Yavor Zlatanov, the missing voice from the “Eight Dwarfs” speaks in an interview for the Anti-Corruption Fund.” It contains allegations related to my actions as Prosecutor General. As with previous ACF publications, another point of view, in this case, mine, is in no way sought or presented. Therefore, I suggest that you post the following position of mine on the Foundation’s website:
“I do not know either Mrs. Radost Draganova or Mr. Yavor Zlatanov. I do not have any involvement or participation in the actions of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office related to the indictment or detention of Yavor Zlatanov. Attempts to suggest this are outright lies.
This is not the first attempt to link my name to the Anti-Corruption Fund investigation known as the ‘Eight Dwarfs.’ On August 20th, 2020, its fourth part was published with the title ‘And the signature of a Prosecutor General.’ Immediately after I published my position in which I stated that I had strictly complied with the provisions of the law and that the facts should not be substituted with convenient allegations and the attempt to present them publicly – with defamation. Soon another of your “Investigations” appeared, on a new subject and with further untruths, which I also publicly refuted. In view of the statement in the interview of October 4th, 2021, that due to an intimate relationship with the ex-wife of Yavor Zlatanov, I have caused his detention, as well as initiated other actions against him in the course of the pre-trial proceedings, I will refer to the competent prosecutor’s office to investigate all my actions related to this proceeding. I will do this because the Anti-Corruption Fund’s publication implies that I have committed a crime against justice. At the same time, I will take the necessary action before the judicial authorities, given the slanders that have been publicly disseminated.
It is shameful that the funding provided to the Anti-Corruption Fund by your main sponsor, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, is also being used to spread outright lies. It is shameful that the way this is being done has nothing to do with the standards of ethics and transparency proclaimed by you.
In June 2021, in a letter to you, Mr. Stankushev, I stated that the purposeful repetition of lies and their presentation in the public domain in different forms would not turn them into truth, regardless of the scenarios applied and the goals set by their executors. I have every reason to confirm these words now.”
Position of the Anti-Corruption Fund:
Dear Mr. Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission,
We have published the first part of the interview with Yavor Zlatanov, and we will publish its sequel very soon, as we believe that the case of the “Eight Dwarfs” has been openly swept under the rug by the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria and all other institutions that are obliged to react to the reported evidence. At the same time, a sufficient number of senior magistrates are involved in this case to consider it important for uncovering potential dependencies and answering the question of how and in whose favor the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office works in some instances.
Regarding your position today, again, you do not comment on the questions about your relations with the main actors in the “Eight Dwarfs” – the former head of the investigation department in Sofia, Mr. Petyo Petrov, and his wife, Lyubena Petrova. For example, despite the Bulgarian court’s conclusion that Petyo Petrov had carried out a bribery provocation in the case against former military minister Nikolai Tsonev, he was not prosecuted for this by the Prosecutor’s Office at the time when you were heading it. Also, Petrov managed to leave the judiciary of his own volition and without any sanction from the Supreme Judicial Council while you were the informal majority leader in it. Lyubena Petrova, on the other hand, organized demonstrations in support of the Prosecutor’s Office and this same majority. These are important questions whose answer the society is waiting for.
Secondly, we believe that every Bulgarian citizen has the right to take to court any action that they feel is damaging to their rights or reputation. However, in the position you have published today, in your capacity as Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (CAPIAF), we see an attempt to pressure our organization and a classic case of SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation). We believe that the published position constitutes a public threat of a defamation lawsuit, without considering that our organization has simply made the voice of the brutally, even physically affected by the actions of the institutions, Yavor Zlatanov heard. We believe that making vaguely worded threats concerning a right of reply to a previous publication does not correspond to the senior public office you hold and the considerable powers it has. Adopting and institutionalizing such an approach would discredit the Anti-Corruption Commission and contribute to turning it into an instrument for intimidation.
Last but not least, your position clearly reflects an attempt to influence our activities by referring to our donor organizations and suggesting that the grants received from them are spent in breach of ethical rules. We assure you that the Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation has and will continue to observe the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in its activities, which is reflected in the Foundation’s high level of public trust.
In conclusion, we believe that both the facts of the Eight Dwarfs case presented in 2020, supported by documentary evidence and the testimony of unrelated witnesses, and the circumstances published as part of an interview with Yavor Zlatanov, testify to systemic problems in law enforcement institutions and contain serious evidence of crimes and violations. Therefore, we once again appeal to the competent institutions – the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Interior, the Inspectorate of the Supreme Judicial Council – to verify and investigate the evidence. We believe that an adequate institutional response to cases of the rank of the “Eight Dwarfs” will significantly contribute to ensuring that Bulgaria does not occupy the shameful place of the most corrupt country in the European Union, according to several international corruption surveys – Corruption Perceptions Index and Global Corruption Barometer (Transparency International), Freedom Barometer (Friedrich Nauman Stiftung) and Rule of Law Index (World Justice Project).