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Bulgaria: Payment To Lukanov's Family Criticized

Sofia, 24 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgarian chief prosecutor Ivan Tatarchev is questioning Sofia's decision to pay a court settlement to the family of slain former Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov. The government made the $7,000 dollar last week in compliance with a ruling by the Council of Europe's Human-Rights Court.

Tatarchev told RFE/RL that Lukanov's family has no right to receive such payments until it returns what he calls "a significant amount of (state) money" spent for travel and medical bills in Austria before 1989.

Lukanov, a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee who helped orchestrate the overthrow of dictator Todor Zhivkov in November 1989, was assassinated in front of his Sofia home last October.

In 1992, Lukanov was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and jailed for six months on charges that he misappropriated state funds during the 1980s. Critics allege that the funds were used as start-up capital for Bulgarian-based international criminal groups. However, the case never reached court. The Strasbourg court ruled after Lukanov's death that his arrest and detention violated of the European Human-Rights Convention.