(DF) Investigation Finds No Evidence of Unlawful Wiretapping of Politicians

July 19 (BTA) – For lack of evidence of offence, the Sofia City Prosecution Office (SCPO) terminated pretrial proceedings which had been instituted upon media reports about unlawful wiretapping of politicians, the SCPO press service said on Monday. The investigation was carried out by the National Investigation Service. Wiretapping has been the theme of one of the biggest scandals which broke out after Bulgaria’s present caretaker government took over on May 12. Caretaker Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov said that hundreds of anti-government protesters and politicians were wiretapped under the previous government in a coup plot investigation. The SCPO further reported that all competent services, including the State Agency for National Security (SANS), the Directorate General for Organized Crime Control (DGOCC) and the Internal Security Directorate (ISD), were asked to provide information on the case but no evidence was found that special surveillance means were used to wiretap political party representatives. The investigators did not detect any wrongdoing by officers of the SANS, the DGOCC and the ISD in connection with the procedures for requesting, permitting and use of special surveillance means, their storage and the destruction of information obtained through them. A check assigned to the National Office for Control over Special Surveillance Means found no political leaders subject to surveillance by special surveillance means. Similarly, a probe by the ISD furnished no evidence that MPs or other politicians had been wiretapped. There is no proof that special surveillance means were used against the president, the vice president, a former prime minister or the prime minister of the current caretaker government. The SANS concluded that all special surveillance means were requested and used lawfully during the reporting period. All persons against whom the State Agency for Technical Operations used special surveillance means were matched against the list of candidates to the 45th National Assembly (tenure: April-May 2021) but no evidence was found about the use of special surveillance means against any of the candidates. Two cases were dropped after targets of special surveillance means were found to be standing for Parliament. The information gathered up until then was referred to the Specialized Prosecution Office. The two cases involved distribution of tobacco products without excise revenue stamps and production of illicit drugs. RI/VE //

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