The Chair of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, Iskra Fidosova, has sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, informing him on the hearing of judge, Veneta Markovska.
Ignoring strong criticism from the European Commission that the Parliament is covering up tipoffs against one of the candidates, the Bulgarian MPs elected Wednesday without debates the 2 constitutional judges from their quota.
They are Anastas Anastasov, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB and the Deputy Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, Veneta Markovska.
In the aftermath, EC announced that Bulgaria might face an interim report on justice and home affairs in case “the situation requires it.”
The warning was stated by Olivier Bailly, spokesperson of EC.
“There were serious allegations of trading influence and corruption on the part of one of the candidates,” Bailly said, but did not disclose a name.
A week before the Parliament voted for the two constitutional judges, the MP from the opposition left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Yanaki Stoilov, announced that a tipoff has been logged against judge Markovska, signed by someone named Georgi Tolev.
The tipoff is based on an investigative journalistic report, alleging that in January 2012 the judge interfered to have two police officers fired over a traffic stop. The man who was stopped, Georgi Georgiev, reportedly is the live-in boyfriend of Markovska. He was apparently drunken then and entered in a brawl with the police patrol.
There are further allegations about profitable real estate purchases by the judge’s boyfriend and her relatives, including her mother, and of close ties with a defense attorney, whose cases have been under her authority.
In the letter to Barroso, Fidosova, who is a GERB MP, notes that from all irrefutable facts and data presented by the competent authorities in Bulgaria, the one possible conclusion is that Markovska’s conduct has always been impeccable.
“During the hearing, the judge dismissed the tipoff as anonymous libel about personal issues regarding her family and property. She files every year a property declaration with the National Audit Office, which never established any violations or omissions. She firmly rejects ever meeting the Interior Minister or any of his deputies in order to interfere in the incident with their subordinates from the traffic police,” the letter reads.
Fidosova further writes the allegations about Markovska’s friendly relations with a lawyer and consequently conflict of interests were construed by the judge as non-sense since VAS always tries cases by panels of three or five members, making it impossible for her to influence them all.
Regarding the journalistic report’s claim that Markovska’s son had a joint business with Georgiev, the judge had said her son is an adult, who makes his own decisions.
Markovska had rejected the allegations about shady real estate deals as well.
She has also presented original letters from the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, certifying the lack of any complaints against her, filed with the Commission for Professional Ethics and Prevention of Corruption, along with similar ones from VAS, the Inspectorate at the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassations and the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office.
Earlier Friday, the leader of the opposition right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, DSB, Ivan Kostov, announced he had also received a tipoff backing the journalistic report, but it has been anonymous.