Controversial lobbying revealed in Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council
Recordings of conversations between members of the Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) allegedly reveal controversial lobbying activity within the institution, the Bulgarian media reported, July 1.
“The participants in the wiretapped telephone conversations can be heard discussing the appointment of [Kamen] Sitnilski and [Rumen] Boev as VSS members,” news agency novinite.com wrote. “The prosecutors engage in undisguised lobbying among their colleagues for the appointment of the two as VSS members.”
The tapes were made public by whistleblowing internet site Afera, which claimed that they were received in an anonymous email.
While not actually revealing any specific criminal activity, the tapes reportedly contain lobbying activity on the part of former Chief Prosecutor Kamen Sitnilski, and four other judges, for the appointment of VSS members.
Members of the VSS were outraged when they discovered that not only were their conversations recorded, but the recordings have since been publicized.
“The tip-off invites the development of public opinion and attitudes that the election of VSS members by the General Assembly of Prosecutors was flawed, through the distribution of dim facts, which only suffice to trigger doubts, nine months after the event in question, and amid escalating tensions over social problems,” the Association of Prosecutors in Bulgaria commented, according to novinite.com.
The prosecutors’ office in Sofia will investigate the recordings. While lobbying is not strictly speaking illegal in the CEE. It is frowned upon by experts and the media alike, due to its connotations with favoritism .