Environment Minister Neno Dimov was arrested tonight, after prosecutors raided his office and took him away for questioning. Initially Dimov told reporters he was not under arrest merely cooperating. While the clarification was technically accurate, the way he was escorted by prosecutors and taken in a van in front of reporters was very telling. Several hours later the spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General told Mediapool that Dimov will be spending the night in jail, and will be put under arrest. Just hours before the prosecutors escorted Dimov out of his office, PM Boyko Borissov implied his removal will be discussed between the parties in the ruling coalition. Dimov is a minister from GERB’s coalition partner and per the coalition agreement could be removed through a joint decision.
The arrest of the minister comes amid the devastating water crisis in Pernik and law enforcement investigations into officials regarding mismanagement of Pernik’s water supply. However, up until the events from today, both the government and the Prosecutor’s Office focused attention and investigation efforts into local-level officials only. The district prosecutors in Pernik did charge Dimov but had to transfer the case to the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office, as high-ranking officials’ offences could only be indicted by it. However, official statements regarding the investigations did not include Dimov, nor another minister, whose ministry of interest in this case – Regional Minister Petya Avramova.
Authorities have not charged Dimov yet. But one thing seems clear: between the ostentatious ‘arrest’, PM Borissov’s public remarks about removal and government-friendly media overflowing with negative pieces about him over the past hours, Neno Dimov is almost certainly a goner.
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