Bulgaria's ex-intelligence chief sentenced for embezzlement

A military court has sentenced Bulgaria's former intelligence chief to 15 years in prison for embezzling millions in public funds.

The court said Wednesday that Kircho Kirov was convicted of embezzling 5.1 million leva (2.6 million euros) between 2007 and 2011, in complicity with one of his subordinate officers.

It said half of his property will be confiscated.

Kirov, who headed the National Intelligence Service from 2002 until 2012, denied any wrongdoing. He said the trial was "politically motivated" and he would appeal.

The European Union has repeatedly urged Bulgaria to improve its efforts against high-level corruption and improve its judicial system, which so far has failed to send senior government officials to prison.