National Investigation Service Director Angel Alexandrov: INVESTIGATION MAY BE THE STRONG JOKER OF THE REFORM
Mr. Alexandrov, is it true that the National Investigation Service, the Ministry of Interior and the Prosecutors' Office only investigate fallen angels, that is senior state officials who are not involved in the ruling process?
- It has been stubbornly repeated to the people that those engaged with ruling the State commit crimes by all means. But that's not the truth at all. Power creates preconditions for encroachment on material goods, but we cannot say that all rulers are criminals. I will only tell you that a lot of curious cases have passed through the investigation service. We have one defendant who was a minister in the government led by Ivan Kostov and wasted some BGN50MN.
Are you talking about the former deputy prime minister and minister of economy Alexander Bozhkov?
- Yes, that's right. A few cases were being led against him - part of them were closed, others entered the court.
But at first instance he got three acquitals and the Sofia City Court is still unable to cope with the last case against him - the one for the compensatory notes.
- This is the case I'm talking about. The prosecutor claims that a conviction is near, but the case is not unique at all. There are cases initiated for VAT violations; former directors of the Bobovdol thermal power plant were brought to trial; along with colleagues from Europe we completed a number of human smuggling cases. I'd like to say something here. One of the things for which I reproach the investigation service and the Ministry of Interior is that we fail to advertise our achievements in the fight against human smuggling even though our European colleagues are satisfied with what we have done. Indeed, Bulgaria appeared a very reliable shield against the migration waves coming from the Middle East through our country to the Old Continent. We are also Europe's shield against the international trafficking in girls. Moreover, we are working well with the international legal orders. In the last year alone, the National Investigation Service closed 195 trials of the kind. It is hardly necessary to explain what it means for a small country like Bulgaria, with small possibilities and little financial potential, to serve 195 European cases. Therefore, our help for Europe should not be ignored. But how we demonstrate our achievements during partners inspections is a different question.
Well, since we help Europe, why doesn't Europe help us, too? For example, why is the National Investigation Service running for its life in order to fulfil international legal orders, whereas no attention is being paid to the Bulgarian requests for legal assistance?
- They do not respect us enough, that is why they treat our investigation requests with neglect.
Do you know how many trials have been stopped because of this lack of respect?
- I know, there are many of them. That's why it is strange that we are the ones blamed for working inefficiently. Every time we have had a chance, we have shared this problem with the European inspectors, but we have achieved no results. During the latest check-up, the inspectors did not even bother about visiting the investigation service and asking us about what is interesting for them. Instead, they prepared their critical analysis of the work done by the investigation service and the Ministry of Interior on the basis of publications in the press. This is something I do not accept - it offends my dignity as a Bulgarian and as a professional in the field. Why didn't these men ask about the actions our partners took on the cases we sent orders for and we never got replies? For example, what did Great Britain do about the money laundering case led against Konstantin Dimitrov-Kossyo Samokoveca? Nothing. What happened with the other money laundering trials for which we asked Europe to help us? Nothing.
Do you think that because of the European inspectors Brussels may present us with a New Year's justice safeguard clause?
- I would not like to be a judge of their work on these check-ups, because the effect of the safeguard clause is a rather political issue. But I could say something else. If we compare how fast trials progress in Bulgaria and in Europe, I can easily say that we are much ahead but obviously have not demonstrated it in the best possible way.