Head of Bulgarian ‘Russophiles’ movement accused of espionage

Head of Bulgarian ‘Russophiles’ movement accused of espionage
# 10 September 2019 19:13 (UTC +04:00)

Bulgarian prosecutor’s office has accused Nikolai Malinov, chairman of the National Movement of Russophiles, of espionage, Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov stated during Tuesday’s briefing transmitted by Channel 3, APA reports citing TASS.

"The investigation against Nikolai Malinov suspected of espionage is currently ongoing. We think that he has been gathering data on Bulgarian foreign policy, among other things, in the interest of the "Double-Headed Eagle" society and the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) based on the territory of Russia," Tsatsarov stated. He added that Malinov had been released from custody on 50,000 lev bail (over $28,000) and issued a travel ban.

The prosecutor also informed that the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security banned former head of RISS Leonid Reshetnikov from entering Bulgaria for 10 years. According to Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev, Malinov’s efforts were allegedly aimed to support non-governmental organizations, create websites and a TV channel that would be used to exercise political influence. "His goal was to influence the political life 'not visibly' but in a hidden manner," Geshev stated.

Malinov was also accused of plans to acquire a Bulgarian telecommunications operator with the funding from a Russian bank in an alleged attempt to influence social and political life in Bulgaria.

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED