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Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Bulgaria finds spies in high places
Bulgarian parliament
Over 100 former spies have walked Bulgaria's corridors of power
More than a hundred former secret police agents have served in Bulgaria's governments since the fall of communism, a parliamentary commission has revealed.

The 121 agents included a former foreign affairs minister, defence minister and deputy prime minister.

They worked as spies, in military or civil counter-espionage or for the country's secret police during the reign of communism.

"The report is based on authentic documents and facts which have been found in the archives," the commission's Deputy Chairman, Evgeni Dimitrov, said.

The head of the commission, Metodi Andreev, said he had also received information that two prime ministers had been involved with the security services but they had not been named for lack of evidence.

Only 41 people, who could irrefutably be proved to have worked with the secret police, were named in the report.

Break with the past

The commission was set up after parliament approved a law to allow wide-ranging investigations into communist-era activities.

ex-King Simeon II
Simeon II won on a pledge to bring new blood into Bulgaria's government
Ahead of this month's general election the commission revealed that at least 78 of the prospective parliamentary candidates were former police agents.

Some political parties removed people revealed as spies from their ticket.

The election was won by a new political party led by the former king, Simeon II, who campaigned on a platform of breaking with the past.

For many in Bulgaria it is vital that their corridors of power are purged of former communists if they are to achieve their ambitions of Nato and EU membership.

But some think too much time has already passed to investigate fully who was involved in the secret police.

Forty percent of files were destroyed by security officials after the fall of communism in 1989.

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See also:

18 Jun 01 | Europe
Simeon's recipe for change
14 Jun 01 | Europe
Old king promises new Bulgaria
21 Jun 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Bulgaria
15 Jan 01 | Europe
Timeline: Bulgaria
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