UPDATE 1-Bulgaria deputy central bank governor being investigated, takes leave

Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:09pm EDT

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(Adds detail, official quotes)

SOFIA, June 18 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's deputy central bank governor in charge of banking supervision, Tsvetan Gounev, has voluntarily taken a leave of absence after prosecutors opened an investigation against him, the central bank and prosecutors said on Wednesday.

After the central bank released a statement, chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov told reporters the investigation related to Gounev's role as banking supervisor.

Gounev, who was appointed to the post a year ago, could not immediately be contacted for comment. A spokesman for the central bank said Gounev did not want to comment on the case.

Tsatsarov said the probe was linked to calls from an activist group to investigate the financial dealings between a banker and two Bulgarian politicians - none of whom the prosecutors named.

On Wednesday, the central bank said it had blocked Gounev's access to classified data once it was told of the investigation by prosecutors.

The central bank said in its statement that "in order to avoid any doubt that the probe could be obstructed, Tsvetan Gounev has voluntarily taken a leave of absence until the end of the procedures". (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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