Bulgaria’s Judiciary Act sets out special requirements for those who hold magistrates’ positions – investigators, prosecutors and judges. They must have high moral qualities and be only Bulgarian citizens.
On 22 April, the well-known investigative journalist Valya Achchieva revealed that the Bulgarian citizenship of Sofia City Court President Alexei Trifonov is highly dubious and that he may be vulnerable to Russia’s influence. The Sofia City Court is not only the largest court in Bulgaria. Two years ago a diplomatic scandal broke out in the same court, using special intelligence tools against embassies in Sofia. The services had made requests for wiretapping diplomats in violation of international law, and the Sofia City Court approved them for an inexplicable reason.
A day later, on 23 April, as a result of the investigation of Ahchieva, a three-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court, chaired by Natalia Marcheva, in the case challenging the election of the President of the Sofia City Court the Ministry of Justice, requested from the Ministry of Justice the documents proving the legal grounds for the Bulgarian citizenship of the elected Chairman of the Sofia City Court Alexei Trifonov.
Today we publish exclusively the second part of Ahchieva’s investigation into the mystery of the Bulgarian citizenship of Alexei Trifonov. She has been contributing pro bono for this website since 11 February. Her weekly investigative program with the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) was put down last January without any legal grounds, in an obvious attempt to silence journalism, which disturbs the calm of those in power in Bulgaria.
By Valia Ahchieva
A month ago, the Supreme Administrative Court authorised the “examination” of the citizenship of the elected Chairman of the Sofia City Court / Alexei Trifonov. This happened after my journalistic investigation into the suspicious Bulgarian citizenship of a senior magistrate who was born in the town of Kursk, USSR, in 1972. Alexei’s mother, Alla, was then a Soviet citizen, and his father Boyan was a Bulgarian citizen.
These facts were submitted to the Supreme Administrative Court under the case, which disputes the choice of Alexei Trifonov as the head of the Sofia City Court.
The elected magistrate for this position from the Supreme Judicial Council should not be under no dependencies whatsovever. Moreover, a person in this position will also authorise eavesdropping – the use of special intelligence tools.
The judiciary of the Supreme Administrative Court, headed by Natalia Marcheva, and with members Georgi Georgiev and Todor Todorov, ordered an inspection of the Ministry of Justice to determine whether Alexei Trifonov was a Bulgarian citizen.
And I decided to check how Alexei was enrolled in a Bulgarian school despite the fact that there was no trace of his Bulgarian citizenship.
At that time, admission to these state schools was subject to certain statutory requirements, and everyone could not enroll in them and benefit from education with state support.
I already had documents from the National School of Ancient Languages and Cultures (“Konstantin Kiril Philosopher”), where Alexei studied and which attested new circumstances, other than those mentioned in my first article. Then, the High School leadership had told me that Alexei Trifonov was enrolled as a student in the school in 1987 and that he had Bulgarian citizenship. But now it is evident from the documents that it is nowhere mentioned that he is a Bulgarian citizen. And apart from that Alexei was enrolled as a student a year earlier – in 1986, in the 8th grade. And the box for his citizen number (EGN) has not been filled. As classmates remember, 14-year-old Alexei was elected to the school’s Youth communist organisation (DKMS) as a responsible for the sports and working activities.
But in the second year of his studies at the High School in 1987, the box for the EGN against the name of Alexei was filled with a 10-digit number, 7207026208. I asked the Directorate General “Civil Registration and Administrative Services” (GRAO) – is this an EGN? Is this the EGN assigned to Alexei and why did it appear a year before the date mentioned in the response by Mladost District – Sofia Municipality – 13.10.1988, when his Bulgarian Birth Act was drawn up?
GRAO replied to me that this 10-digit combination did not meet the requirements for creating an EGN. This is not an EGN. And this was not the EGN of Alexei Trifonov. His personal EGN was entered by a civil status official in the Ilinden District in 1988 when his Bulgarian Birth Act was drawn up.
I’m shocked by this response by GRAO!
This 10-digit combination actually mimics the EGN. It starts with 6 digits that correspond to the year, month and date of Alexei’s birth, and so I had thought that this was an EGN. But, it was not an EGN.
And what do those numbers mean then?
I consulted with a civil registry specialist, from whom I learned that if this 10-digit number is not an EGN, the only legitimate option is that this number is … a generated Personal ID of a foreigner (LNCh).
That’s why I once again turned to GRAO for clarification.
I asked if this combination, which contains the day, month and year of birth of a person and for which they themselves denied being an EGN, whether this is the Personal ID for Alexei, in 1987?
However, from GRAO they replied that there have no data in their registers about (LNCh). According to Article 16, Paragraph 4 of the Bulgarian Personal Documents Act, the personal number for a foreigner uniquely identifies long-term, permanent and long-term resident foreigners in Bulgaria. And that the institution competent to answer my question was the Migration Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior.
I also approached them, but Migration told me they had no records of so many years ago, because at that time their service did not exist. And they told me to look into the district Ilinden of Sofia Municipality.
I made a request to the Ilinden municipal authoritiesn under the Access to Public Information Act.
And I still expect the answer. The legal term has not expired.
I was also very impressed by another fact revealed by the documents from the Language and Culture High School. The fact that Alexei was enrolled in the school with Father Boyan – a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party and a member of the Ministry of Interior. And mother Alla – a Soviet citizen – also a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party and an employee in the headquarters of the Bulgarian trade unions.
Classmates contacted me and shared that Alexei was a quiet and modest pupil, a distinguished scholar, but he had enjoyed protection for the sake of his parents’ job. He had only six-notes (the maximum) in Russian but in Bulgarian he had “very good 5”. And this is normal because Russian is a mother tongue for him.
After I realized that his father was an employee of the Ministry of Interior, I checked the public registers. I found the name of the father Boyan in the database of the Property Register and on the website of the Commission on the files of the former State Security (DS).
So I learned that Alexei’s father Boyan Marinov Trifonov, born on 23.11.1950, was checked in 2010 whether he had affiliation with the DS. And that such affiliation with the DS was not found.
But it gave me reason to think that Alexei’s father had held a senior post [only people in high positions were checked in 2010]. That’s why I asked the Commission on the files of the former State Security, why was Boyan Trifonov checked in 2010?
I received an answer from Evtim Kostadinov, Chairman of the Commission on the files of the former State Security.
It states that Boyan Marinov Trifonov, born on 23.11.1950, was the head of the “Secretariat” department since 01.01.1992, according to data sent to Commission on the files of the former State Security by the Ministry of Interior.
Head of the Secretariat at the Ministry of the Interior. Such is the position Alexei’s father held in the distant year 1992. This post was part of the political cabinet of the Interior Ministry at that time. Then the Minister of Interior was the late Yordan Sokolov (a high official of the anti-communist SDS).
Boyan Trifonov’s colleagues remember that he had become an employee of the Ministry of Interior very young – about 25 years old. And they remember that he went to study in the USSR and there he graduated from a technical specialty. Immediately after his return to Bulgaria, he was appointed to the Interior Ministry. They remember him very well as an employee of the Ministry of Interior Computing Center and describe him as a quiet and good person. He was making briefs and analyzes based on the information he received at this Computing Center.
This is why I asked the Ministry of Interior in writing: what positions has Boyan Trifonov held in the period – 1992 – 2010, when checked by the Commission on files?
I wrote to them that this was many years ago, and all legal deadlines for classified and business secrets have expired.
But … the Interior Ministry replied that they could not give me such information because it was “personal information”.
So far I have not found any trace of where Alexei Trifonov was studying until the age of 14. And with what diploma from which school he was admitted to the National School of Ancient Languages and Culture “Konstantin Kiril Philosopher”?
Given the fact that there is no data about his Bulgarian citizenship at the time of his entry into the High School, and that his mother, Alla, was a Soviet citizen, the question arose before me: wasn’t Alexei a student at the Russian school in Sofia?
Now this school is under the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
I sent a letter to the director of the school, Andrei Veniaminovich, with the question – was Alexei Trifonov admitted as a student at their school?
But the Russian school responded to me that they only had information about the students who received a secondary school diploma. And Alexei was not among them.
I was told that the archive for the pupils who entered the school was kept in Moscow. And if I wanted such information, I had to turn to the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who could ask the Embassy of the Russian Federation and they would ask Moscow. And if they decide on Moscow, they will answer – was Alexei Trifonov enrolled as student at the Russian school in Sofia?
I think we don’t need such a labyrinth.
It makes more sense that the chairman of the Sofia City Court, Alexei Trifonov, very clearly announces his autobiography.
Because now his public autobiography in Bulgaria starts in 1986 – when he was 14 years old! At the time when he was enrolled in the 8th “D” class of the Language and Culture High School.
And this is necessary in order not to accept that for him and for his parents, who have supplied him with documents for Bulgarian citizenship, that the law is a door open in the field.
This is incompatible with a person who has graduated from higher education and has worked for more than 20 years in the judiciary – first as an investigator, then as a judge who has reached the level of the Court of Appeal.
And who is currently elected by the Supreme Judicial Council as the head of the largest court in Bulgaria, without a check, whether he meets the most important requirement of the law: be a Bulgarian citizen.