“A meeting between representatives of the Central Bank (Bulgarian National Bank – BNB) and representatives of EPIC, of the Fund of the State General Reserve of the Sultanate of Oman and Gemcorp was held in BNB. At the meeting, the BNB representatives were informed that a newly formed consortium of these three investors is in talks with the government and parliamentary political forces to prepare a plan to recapitalize and restructure Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), which is to also include funds provided through State aid,” the Bulgarian National Bank said in a press release on October 24.
Regarding the ownership of the Oman Fund, we have the revelation of the former Minister of Culture Vezhdi Rashidov in the government of the centrist party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), recorded in the Parliament’s hallway:
“In my time, Mr. Borisov (leader of GERB and former Prime Minister – editor’s note) made a big mistake. What did he do – he needed media comfort. These are Dogan’s newspapers (Ahmed Dogan, lifetime honorary chairman of the party largely representing the Muslim minority in Bulgaria – Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS – editor’s note). If you think that this fez from rural Drandar is not ruling you, then this is your 1,300-year-old nation, f… your Gypsy nation, yes, write this, but you would not dare. This money belongs to Dogan and two sheikhs from Oman. If you indeed have no idea what is sitting in the bank. The Bank (KTB – editor’s note) owns newspapers and Delyan Peevski is the dummy with his mother in front. They launder some money. ”
Bivol carried out its own investigation in the said Fund EPIC and Gemcorp. Austrian-based company EPIC Financial Consulting GmbH has a presence in several Central European and Balkan countries, where it is consulting large privatization and corporate transactions. The feedback from journalists from the network investigating organized crime and corruption, OCCRP, which Bivol consulted is more than alarming:
“Savage privatization” of metallurgical and mining enterprises in the Czech Republic, suspicious transaction of the Hungarian electricity company, subsequently investigated by the Hungarian Prosecutor for abuses, acquisition of Macedonian Telecom Cosmofon by the Slovenian Telekom Slovenije for 190 million euros, after which a corruption scandal broke out in Slovenia – these are some of the most remarkable transactions mediated by the consultancy of the Viennese Fund.
Who are the real owners of EPIC and what is the origin of the money they intend to pour into the “black hole” CCB remains a mystery.
The other potential savior Gemcorp is registered in England, but it is the facade of the Maltese company Mirabella Malta Limited, whose owners hide behind offshore legislation in the island country.
GEMCORP CAPITAL LLP is a representative of Mirabella Financial Services LLP, a company that has rights to conduct financial operations in the UK and to make them available for a fee to other companies as “financial hosting”. All activities of Gemcorp, related to “investment management” are performed by Mirabella Financial Services LLP through Mirabella Malta Limited, is written in lowercase on the site of Gemcorp.
The origin of money that passes through this “financial hosting” is also a secret to the public.
It is a fact that the manager of Gemcorp, Bulgarian Atanas Bostandzhiev, until recently worked in the London office of the bank “VTB Capital”, known as “the investment weapon of Putin.” Bostandzhiev left “VTB Capital” after the closure of CCB.
It should be reminded here that the office of VTB in Sofia was opened after the arrival of Bostandzhiev in “VTB Capital”, and he attended the inaugural press conference in Sofia in person. The managers of the Bulgarian branch were former Finance Minister Milen Velchev and his former deputy Krassimir Katev in the government of former King Simeon Saxe-Coburg (both protagonists in the swap deal with Bulgarian debt). “VTB Capital” is a partner of KTB in the deals with tobacco product maker Bulgartabac and the telecom Vivacom, but it sold its shares later.
Is there a relationship between the announced bankruptcy of KTB, the interests of VTB, Bostandzhiev leaving the latter, and his current appearance as a candidate to become a “savior”? According to a publication in the Russian “Vedomosti” from late June, VTB lost “in the failed fourth largest Bulgarian bank about 30 million US dollars in investment”. Officially VTB, which is still a shareholder with 10% stake, has denied an interest to rescue KTB. The inclusion of Gemcorp and Bostandzhiev is, however, directing suspicions back to the Russian bank, which currently cannot operate directly in a European Union Member State because of the sanctions.
As to the real possibilities of these wannabes to fill the hole of 4.2 billion levs, the following quote from a BNB press release describes them best – “funds provided through State aid“.
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