Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Ulsterman denies Bulgaria hoax

An Ulsterman today denied involvement in hoax threats to blow up a Bulgarian ski resort.



Ardglass man Eoin McGrath was questioned last month by Bulgarian police about the bomb hoax at the popular Bankso ski resort in February.

Mr McGrath says he was forced to deny the allegations after police called to his home in the south western city of Blagoevgrad.

He said: "The bomb threat had been made in February and about three weeks ago police arrived and told me I should go down to the station with them as they had some official documents.

"At first I thought something had gone wrong at home or something like that. But when I got to the police station they took me down to a room and asked me was I familiar with the bomb scare. They told me it would be easier if I signed a confession there and then, at which point I nearly fell off my chair in surprise. I know very little about the actual event and had nothing to do with it and know nobody who does."

Mr McGrath says police claimed to have a video recording of him making the hoax threat from an internet cafe.

The Bankso resort was closed down for three days while police and the Bulgarian army searched for the hoax device. The resort has been the scene of controversy in the past after environmentalists objected to development there. The Co Down man told the BBC he was singled out for attention because his Bulgarian-born wife works for international environmental pressure group Bankwatch.

He added: "For environmentalists in Bulgaria, Bankso is a massive case. The ski slopes are cut into a national park , which is an international heritage site."

Mr McGrath, who has lived in Bulgaria four years, says he doesn't know if his Northern Ireland background was a factor in police questioning him.

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