TV Executive Vows to Sue Bulgarian Nationalist MP

Venelin Petkov, the head of news, current affairs and sport at private channel bTV, said on Tuesday that he intends to sue United Patriots leader Valeri Simeonov for calling him and his colleague Anton Hekimyan corrupt during a broadcast on Bulgarian National Television.

"See you in court," Petkov wrote on Facebook in response to Simeonov's accusations.

Simeonov claimed during the broadcast on Tuesday morning that information allegedly incriminating Vasil Bojkov, a recently-arrested billionaire tycoon who is the most influential figure in the country's gambling sector, was leaked to Hekimyan and Petkov, but that they failed to report on it.

Simeonov, who has a long history of controversial remarks, described Hekimyan and Petkov as "corrupt television presenters".

"I would send the prosecution to question them," he urged.

But Petkov said that Tsvetelin Naydenov, head of online gambling company Efbet and a former business partner of Bojkov, had only sent him copies of complaints about Bojkov that he had already sent to prosecutors two weeks beforehand.

Simeonov's comments were criticised by the bTV Media Group and by the Association of European Journalists - Bulgaria.

"In no way can it be considered a cover-up of information, given that the revelations about Vasil Bozhkov's alleged criminal activity and the actions of the prosecutor's office were widely covered by these [bTV and Bulgarian National Television] and other media," said the Association of European Journalists - Bulgaria.

Bojkov, who was the previous owner of the recently nationalised National Lottery, was detained in the United Arab Emirates on January 31.

He is charged with several crimes, including leading an organised criminal group, coercion,...

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