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Bulgaria's Ex Defense Min: From Behind Bars to New Party.

Bulgaria's Former Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev has founded a new party just days after he was conclusively acquitted of malfeasance in office.

"New Alternative" is the party of the people who are doing business and because of whom we want to change things and do something good," Nikolay Tsonev said on Sunday.

"Our members are young people, who have already accomplished something in their lives," assured Nikolay Tsonev.

The new party will promote patriotic ideology and liberalism, he added.

"Our platform is currently being developed and we expect our potential supporters and voters, business people, entrepreneurs and their employees to support us," Tsonev said.

The four pillars upon which the "New Alternative" party is based are "nation, modern economy, rule of law and individual liberty, as well as effective management for the benefit of the people."

The new formation's political council includes Eva Kalcheva, Camellia Neykova, Lubomir Novoselski, Nikolai Tsonev Diana Burova a an economist, Snejana Dimitrova - an expert in public administration and EU funds, Valentin Bojinov, etc.

In the middle of June the Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS) cleared former Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev of malfeasance charges for alleged crimes committed in 1999.

The ruling upheld the verdict of the Sofia Appellate Court and overturned the protest of the Sofia Appellate Prosecutor's Office that the decision breached material law and procedural rules.

VKS ruled that the claim about procedural violations had not been substantiated by concrete evidence.

Bulgaria's Defense Minister in 2008-2009 faced charges of malfeasance in office resulting in damages of BGN 19 M to the state budget.

The charges involved a decision made in his capacity of head of the Bulgarian military factories "Terem".

On June 1, VKS acquitted the former Defense Minister on a count of criminal breach of trust committed in his capacity as an employee of the Defense Ministry.

The ruling upheld the decision of the Sofia Appellate Court and the Sofia Military Court, the court of first instance, clearing Tsonev of accusations of malfeasance in office in his capacity as head of the Procurement Management Directorate at the Ministry of Defense.

Tsonev is also standing trial on bribe charges alongside Judge Petar Santirov and former Chief Secretary of the Finance Ministry Tencho Popov.

Tsnovev, Santirov and Popov have been charged with attempting to bribe investigator Petyo Petrov with EUR 20 000 to get a positive outcome of an investigation against Tsonev.

Tsonev, who was part of the previous, Socialist-led coalition cabinet from the quota of former Tsar Simeon Saxe-Coburg's party National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NMSP), was arrested on April 1, 2010, in a much advertised police operation that generated strong public controversy.

The police operation, which was filmed and broadcast by the Interior Ministry, spurred a public outrage of police brutality as masked police officers made him kneel to the ground while Deputy Sofia City Prosecutor Roman Vasilev called him "an absolute criminal".

The Ethics Commission at Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) later penalized Vasilev with a disciplinary reprimand for his inappropriate behavior during the arrest.

The former Defense Minister is suing the Bulgarian state in Strasbourg over the humiliation that he suffered during his police arrest.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Geographic Code:4EXBU
Date:Jun 24, 2012
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