During the ten years of its existence, significant figures have been convicted in the Specialized Criminal Court. This was stated in “Face to Face” by the chairman of the Appellate Specialized Criminal Court Georgi Ushev regarding the allegations that the structure does not have effective sentences against people at high levels of power.
“Corruption in the upper echelons of power was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Specialized Criminal Court at the end of 2017. Investigations actually started in 2018, investigations in these cases are complex, difficult to prove and the transition from pre-trial proceedings to two instances takes time. . However, there are also cases that have passed in one or two instances in such a short period of time. Such is the case for the mayor and deputy mayor of Mladost district, who were effectively convicted, “Ushev explained.
The head of the appellate special court gave an example with effective sentences that came into force: head of the Criminal Police group at RUP-Trun, director of the Executive Agency “Fisheries and Aquaculture”, prosecutor of the District Prosecutor’s Office-Kneja, judge of the District Court-Vidin and others.
He also gave an example with people from the underground – part of Taki’s group, the group “Sheikhs” – employees of ODMVR-Burgas, Valyo-Boretsa, the group of Ilian Vesanov, the group “Killers”, part of the group of Tony-Mama, Yosko- Kostinbrodsky, the group of Zlatko-Baretata, Emil Milev-Crocodile, Yanko Vatashki, Tsar Kiro and others.
He pointed out that the Specialized Criminal Court started working in 2012, when I was mainly dealing with cases committed by organized criminal groups. Subsequently, cases under Chapter I of the Criminal Code were added – against the Republic of Bulgaria (terrorism), cases of high-level corruption and investigations by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
“In the meantime, we are under constant monitoring by the European Commission under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, where the reports on our activities are mostly positive. As a result, the monitoring of Bulgaria for the chapter “Organized Crime” was dropped. The idea for our creation was to break the dependencies that were created in places between local organized crime and local authorities, “Ushev said.
When asked why the specialized structure is investigating the zoo of Ivan Totev (former mayor of Plovdiv), he answered that this is the first time he has heard of such a case. According to him, the main problem in the CCB case is “the formalism of the Bulgarian Criminal Procedure”.
“Out of those 6 years and a half, the indictment of absolutely literate people was read, to whom this act was printed and given, but it was required that the tens of thousands of pages be read by the judge before them,” he added.
Ushev rejected allegations that specialized judicial structures were set up to deal with opponents of the government. He added that they work on the same criteria with other prosecutors’ offices and courts in the country.