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BULGARIA’S EX-PREMIER GETS 10 YEARS IN PRISON

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Bulgaria's Supreme Court on Tuesday convicted former Communist Premier Georgi Atan-asov of embezzlement for giving $8,400 in state funds to his supporters and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Atanasov, 59, the last premier under former Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, has maintained his innocence since his arrest in April.He has charged that he and a co-defendant, former Economics Minister Stoyan Ovcharov, were victims of a political trial. Ovcharov, 50, also was convicted Tuesday and sentenced to nine years imprisonment.

Atanasov was accused of embezzling the money while he headed the government from 1986 to 1989. He was the latest in a string of former officials sentenced to prison for economic crimes committed during the Communist era.