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Cablegate: Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Determined to Show

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSF #0620 2621317
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 181317Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY SOFIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5400
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0735
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0525
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC 0237

C O N F I D E N T I A L SOFIA 000620

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EUR/CE FOR TOM YEAGER
INL FOR ELIZABETH CARROLL
DEA FOR ROBERT CASSITTAS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2028
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCOR KCRM
SUBJECT: BULGARIAN CHIEF PROSECUTOR DETERMINED TO SHOW
SHORT-TERM RESULTS

Classified By: Political Counselor James Bigus for reasons
1.5 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev told the Ambassador on
September 12 that the EU report's criticism of Bulgaria's
rule of law efforts was helpful and that the Prime Minister
was determined to show progress in fighting organized crime
and corruption before the next EU report is released in
February. Noting difficulties in convincing witnesses to
testify, Velchev said he hoped to arrest key high-profile
organized crime figures within a few days.

2. (C) Though Velchev trusts and respects the new Interior
Minister, he is convinced that the Interior Ministry (MOI) is
"broken, corrupted and incapable of progress." Velchev was
bitterly disappointed to learn that the MOI has no evidence
to show criminal activity by Bulgaria's 14 most notorious
criminals. Believing he has no other alternative, he relies
on the new security agency, DANS, even though it lacks
investigative capacity and must draw resources from its
primary mission of counter intelligence and
counter-terrorism. As a long shot, Velchev has turned to the
U.S. (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and Bulgaria's
European partners for any information that may lead to
prosecution against these known criminals.

3. (C) Comment. Velchev's comments indicate that other GOB
officials on their own are coming to the same damning
conclusions about the state of the MOI. (DOJ has completed a
report that we will present to the Interior Minister next
week.) Velchev acknowledges the situation in the MOI is
worse than he imagined and he sometimes seems overwhelmed by
how deep the rot goes. Many European embassies have given up
on Velchev, complaining that he says the right things, but is
incapable of following through. He appears to be an honest
man struggling under very difficult circumstances. End
comment.
McEldowney

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