An article in reputed U.S. publication Congressional Quarterly exposing alleged mobster affiliations in the past of Sofia mayor Boiko Borisov's has caused quite a media and political stir in Bulgaria.
The article, entitled 'Bush's Bulgarian partner in the terror war has mob history, investigators say', elicited a stormy reaction from the Bulgarian political elite and Borisov himself.
The Sofia mayor dismissed it as a '100% lie'. The article is 'unabashedly anti-Bulgarian, it is not evidence-based and is offensive towards Bulgaria,' president Georgi Parvanov said in a press release. That response was echoed by interior minister Rumen Petkov while other politicians interpreted the article as an attack on the policy agenda of the Republican party and president George Bush.
'The most powerful politician in Bulgaria, Washington's newest ally in the global war on terror, is a close associate of known mobsters and linked to almost 30 unsolved murders in the Black Sea republic, according to a confidential risk-analysis investigation of the country commissioned by a private bank,' said the article.
'The U.S. partnership with Boiko Borisov, 48, a popular former interior minister [editor's note: Borisov was not a minister but a chief secretary of the interior ministry] actually now poised to capture Bulgaria's presidency, is the latest example of the political trade-offs involved in the Bush administration's global war on terrorism, which has put the Pentagon, CIA and FBI in bed with some of the world's most corrupt and thuggish leaders.'
The author of the article, CQ national security editor Jeff Stein, said it was based on a confidential report ordered by a Swiss bank to gauge the political risk in Bulgaria.
The report was provided to Stein on condition that the name of the bank and the people on the investigation team remain undisclosed.
The report was handed over 18 months ago, a period just after the 2005 parliamentary elections when Borisov vacated his position as an interior ministry chief secretary.
Bulgarian deputy ambassador to the U.S. Hristo Gudjev confirmed for the Bulgarian National Radio that Stein had attempted to connect Borisov via the embassy a month a ago to pose some questions to him.
The American embassy in Bulgaria came out with e press release saying that CQ is an independent publication and that its content does not reflect the official position of the U.S. government.(Dnevnik)