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Bulgaria: Ministry Demands Indictments Against Former DZU Officials

Sofia, 29 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The Bulgarian Interior Ministry says it is asking for criminal indictments against a former minister and four ex-executives at a major compact disc factory.

International music industry representatives say the DZU plant in Stara Zagora, in south central Bulgaria, is now Europe's largest producer of pirate audio compact discs. An RFE/RL investigation recently confirmed that the Soviet-era military computer research center is producing large amounts of the illegal CDs, and that the current government has been involved.

Allegations of criminal misconduct are being made against former Industry Minister Rumen Bikov, former DZU board chairmen Ognian Pishev and Peter Tanev, former DZU executive director Rafael Sarkisian, and a former DZU representative in the United States, Eftim Pandev.

Pishev also was formerly the Bulgarian ambassador to Washington and had signed the first treaty on copyright protection between the the two countries in 1992.

The United States last month criticized Sofia for failing to enforce its copyright laws, and warned that Bulgaria must put an end to the rampant piracy of CDs, videos and computer software.

Evidence against the five men has been given to General Prosecutor Ivan Tatarchev, and they are not allowed to leave Bulgaria until the disposition of the matter.