ProsecutionLeaks #2: Laptops, Phone, Documents, Disks, Tapes. What is the Evidence Seized from Properties of Influence Peddler Petar Petrov "The Euro" and Where is It Now?

Today, the Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation (ACF) published the second document in its ProsecutionLeaks series based on leaked documents from an investigation of the Sofia Regional Prosecutor’s Office (SRPO).

The document in question is a protocol describing the search of one of Petrov’s properties in Sofia – an apartment on Svilenitsa Street near Petrov’s infamous Eight Dwarfs restaurant – as well as the inventory describing the material evidence seized during the search of said apartment and another one in the same building.

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

The investigative actions were carried out in the small hours of 30 May 2023, during an investigation initiated at lightning-fast speed by the SRPO. The investigation was initiated a day after ACF had published photographs, received by e-mail, of a smiling Petrov pictured together with Borislav Sarafov, the acting Prosecutor General who was Deputy Prosecutor General at the time. The two had been photographed in front of the premices of the Eight Dwarfs.

The documents released today concern evidence gathered from just two properties owned by Petrov which had been searched that night. During the searches authorities seized two computers, a cell phone, documents (both typed and handwritten), and various media: CDs, tapes, even a floppy disk. The contents of all the information storage media are unknown.

On 9 June 2023, the prosecution sent this material evidence, together with other evidence collected in the course of the investigation, to the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC). Under the recently adopted mechanism for independent investigation of the Prosecutor General and his deputies, investigations into their actions should be lead by a Special Prosecutor. However, while the Special Prosecutor was being appointed, the investigation was forwarded to the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office (SCPO) since the case potentially implicated other magistrates, too. SCPO Prosecutor Yordan Petrov asked for the material evidence pertaining to the case and the court granted his request.

Thus, the SCPO gained control over many items of evidence with unknown content, which could possibly concern many administrative heads of the prosecution, including those of the SCPO itself. The possible links between the SCPO and the criminal network of Petar Petrov had been expressly mentioned in several witness testimonies in the case file.

In addition to the material evidence gathered from Petrov’s properties in Bulgaria, there is evidence obtained from his properties in Greece which were searched following the successful motion by the Sofia Regional Prosecutor’s Office to be granted a European Investigation Order. This material evidence is now also under the control of the SCPO. Sources from within the justice system have claimed that the information contained therein was even more interesting and generated “an unhealthy amount of interest” within some administrative heads within the prosecution service.

“What was the actual content of the information storage media seized from Petrov’s Bulgarian and Greek properties? We will hardly ever know, given the way the evidence is being administered now and the many publicly known details of how material evidence concerning cases of high public interest has been handled in the past,” said ACF co-founder Nikolay Staykov.