The case “Bisserov” was the biggest corruption scandal of the transition period or at least this is an opinion I read among all comments in the past week, which weaved a web around the mysterious withdrawal and even more mysterious accusations against the now-former second in command in the predominantly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS.
I cannot agree. I know those pro and those against, everyone, will rush to defend their thesis with fervor. In this text, however, I would like to focus on some facts (and speculations) linked to this case, not only in terms of current controlled information, but also in terms of the figure Hristo Bisserov.
The Facts around the Talk
So far we, in the media, know the following – last Sunday, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and the Deputy Chairman of DPS Hristo Bisserov resigned from all his parliamentary posts (the Legal Commission and the leadership of the National Assembly), and from his party position. According to a press release of the party, it happened because of “strictly personal reasons.”
A day later, (on Monday), the Chairman of DPS, Lyutvi Mestan, staged a bizarre press conference, where he tried to convince media that, see, he knew nothing, although it did not speak well for a party boss. The mantra about the strictly personal reasons was repeated for the third time, and while he explained how he was totally uninformed, Mestan used the word “sincerity” more than 4 times. Meanwhile, hours earlier, the site Afera (Affair) released information that Bisserov was ill and nearly close to death. The information, of course as “always” in Affair, came from “brilliant sources.”
The information blackout persisted Tuesday and Wednesday. Mestan, on his part, continued with the tantrums, highlighting how uninformed he was. However, he continued from Brussels, where he held the most important meetings in the world. While he was in Brussels, otherwise proven journalist, Vesselin Zhelev, released some strange information, where he argued that his insider sources knew about an upcoming coalition between DPS and the formerly-ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, and about the appointment of a new government to be led by current Interior Minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev, in the frame of the existing Parliament. Mestan staged another tantrum and again denied everything.
On Thursday, Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov suddenly gave a television interview. The only news emanating from it was that during the day some classified information against Hristo Bisserov will be released – obviously this is some investigation. Now let’s open a big bracket – as you know and there is no need to explain – such interviews are requested by the Prosecutor himself i.e. there is no way he just fell from the sky in the TV studio where he accidentally dropped a “detail” in the height of a scandal buried under information blackout.
We are closing the bracket and moving on. Less than an hour later, but note – before the official announcement of the prosecution that the former Deputy Chairman of DPS is the subject of pre-trial proceedings for money laundering, Tsvetan Tsvetanov popped in the Parliament with his own version – there were some bank transfers from one country to another.
Immediately after this, the prosecution issued a press release. In general, it was as specific as the statement of former Interior Minister Tsvetanov – the case involved bank transfers from one European country to another and then to the Seychelles. It also emerged that one bank account belonged to Hristo Bisserov the other – to his stepson Ivaylo Glavinkov.
In a split second, Lyutvi Mestan gave a statement to media. Tantrum again – the reasons were personal, “everything of the sort” was personal and not a political act that will harm DPS and, suddenly, a new thesis emerged – why Tsvetan Tsvetanov divulged classified information before the announcement of the prosecution.
New bracket – for a message to have the characteristics of classified information, it must contain information in the first place. Tsvetanov’s announcement suggested that he knew information and facts, but ultimately he did not announce them. Nevertheless, Mestan developed the thesis that this was Tsvetanov’s “dirty cop” deed. How could he have information and why he knew before the prosecution knew? Who has told him what? Did Tsvetanov make use of the contacts he acquired while he was Minister?
Immediately after that, Tsvetanov, instead of acting as prominent opposition leader and tell Mestan to get lost (formally, of course) and return the ball “Bisserov” back to the scandal associated with loud accusations of “money laundering,” began to reply to Mestan, not about something else, but about the classified information, which, there is no doubt, he had not divulged.
So, the Chairman of DPS and the Deputy Chairman of GERB imperceptibly threw the digging around the case “Bisserov” in a completely different field – namely, was there a leak of information from the secret services i.e. – to put it bluntly, together they shifted the focus.
Now, a bracket again – a senior figure of a ruling formation accused of corruption offenses is a great gift for each opposition party. The question remains why the “grand” opposition leader Tsvetanov failed to use this case politically and instead willingly started an exchange of remarks with a leader of a ruling party.
The Head of State Agency for National Security, DANS, suddenly intervened in this cacophony as well – again on the subject of classified information. Was there a leak from the services to Bisserov that made him aware of what was cooking against him and to decide to resign?
The ball was again taken up by Mestan: “If I know that I have secret accounts somewhere, and a regulation for their publicity was about to be introduced, I would have probably taken certain steps in this direction,” he said again in connection with Bisserov’s resignation for personal reasons.
Former Prime Minister and GERB leader, Boyko Borisov, also popped in the big picture. As you know, he is not a reluctant and silent politician. Rather than focusing on the theme “money laundering,” which is the accusation, he asked if someone from DANS has given information to the honorary Chairman of DPS, Ahmed Dogan, who then retired Mestan’s Deputy.
In this situation, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, stood silent, silent for a full week.
And while we, in the media, speculated who has received, leaked and used what, and of course, all while recognizing Mestan’s “sincerity” that, you see, he did not know a thing, some data on Hristo Bisserov’s money laundering snuck here and there.
According to unofficial information, it became clear that the former Deputy Chairman of DPS had transferred 400 000 US dollars from his account in Switzerland to an account in the name of his stepson Ivaylo Glavinkov in Macedonia. From there, the money traveled to Seychelles.
Again, according to unofficial information, there was another tranche of around 50 000 US dollars, which followed the same path.
Furthermore, media published claims that such transfers were made back and forth in the years between 2000 and 2003 and between 2006 and 2008. However, by the end of 2012, according to unofficial information, such signals were not filed with the prosecution.
So…pre-trial proceedings were launched against Bisserov for these transfers.
Of course, in this situation and with these data, we suffered chest pains and began a mass tantrum on the topic of corruption.
While our media coyote howl fanned disgust and verdicts of the type last instance, the public radio leaked mysterious information that Hristo Bisserov has left the country. The speculations even located him in South Africa, from where he cannot be extradited to Bulgaria. And howls again and again about these 400 000 US dollars.
Let’s Think a Little, Huh?
The Deputy Chairman of DPS had an account in Switzerland and Glavinkov (his stepson) in Macedonia. This is not illegal, right? There is a legal requirement that accounts be declared before the Bulgarian Central Bank, BNB, but if this is not done, individuals are subject only to administrative penalty.
Money has been moved from these accounts; this is not illegal either.
From the Macedonian bank, money was allocated to deposits, cash was withdrawn and bank transfers to a third country were made – normal banking activities with money, not prohibited by law.
And now, we come to the most interesting point – the origin of the funds is not established by the prosecution, but pre-trial proceedings are launched for “money laundering.”
To prove such a thing, one must prove that Hristo Bisserov had laundered this money from somewhere. This is not the same as laundering 20 levs left in the pocket of your jeans. I.e., first there must be a crime and then, the talkative in TV studios, Tsatsarov must prove the offense and that Bisserov was aware of the crime or participated in it. Otherwise, this money laundering is the same as laundering 20 levs one has forgotten in their pocket.
To me this story stinks. Again, I am not saying that Hristo Bisserov is innocent. This will be determined by the Court.
I say the following – so far I do not see any “unraveling” of the case. The information that comes out is not a special product of journalistic effort to expose and dig up the situation, but rather a controlled leak of information that serves certain theses.
One thesis – DPS learned about “corrupt” Bisserov or rather Bisserov started stealing from Ahmed Dogan more than he was allowed, so the latter removed him, but since Bisserov knows a lot about his party, he was given the option to retreat and he fled to South Africa.
Assuming this is true – why not just kick the “criminal” and not take advantage of all the levers they have to cover their tracks (why does the party need this scandal)? I doubt somewhat that the people who nominated Delyan Peevski for Head of the National Security Agency would be scant to use their influence, just because it would be illegal.
Why the public lynching of Bisserov? Who is this lynching serving?
When we talk about the so-called ex “Gray Cardinal” of the right-wing Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, who years ago defected to Dogan’s camp, we should not forget that he was the biggest enemy of GERB in DPS. We should not forget about the Parliamentary committee investigating links of Boyko Borisov with Sreten Jocic and Bisserov’s bombastic phrase delivered from the stand in the plenary hall of the previous Parliament: “Boyko took the money.”
We must also not forget that the relationship Bisserov – Delyan Peevski has never been brilliant.
We must not forget either that the relationship between Peevski and Boyko Borisov is brilliant. Just look at the nonaggression pact between them – the GERB leader saw only “incompetence” as an obstacle for Peevski to head DANS and the media of Peevski’s mother don’t publish even one bad word against Borisov, although they are the basis of pro-government propaganda.
We must not forget that Delyan Peevski and the unknown citizen “Who,” who not only suggested, but forced Oresharski to nominate Peevski for DANS Head, later appointed their own boss to lead the same agency – Pisanchev. And Pisanchev is now actively participating in the effort to divert attention to classified information.
Are You Assembling the Puzzle?
Bisserov prevented someone from doing something. And a brief overview of events brings our attention back to the fact that he probably stopped the citizen “Who?”
Who was prevented by Bisserov from doing something?
That is the question. Again, that is the question. We are asking this question for half a year now, walking tirelessly on the streets.
Who is the “Who” whom Bisserov prevented from doing something?
Who is the metaphor of Delyan Peevski? Who is Peevski after all? Because he is not his own person.
Was Bisserov preventing a coalition between GERB and DPS?
Is the “Who” in a good relationship with Boyko Borisov?
What are of relations of the “Who” with BSP, who are so speechless? And is this “Who” preparing a new three-party coalition, but without “Ataka” this time?
Is the “Who” preparing a new government with the same criminal features as the current one and as the one before? And who will be in this government? Will Boyko Borisov manage to trade his thesis that all leaders “need to sit down together and reach an agreement”?
Is Peevski again the mediator in this bargaining? The metaphor Peevski, I mean.
“Who” kicked Bisserov out and “Who” is diverting attention to the issue of classified information?
“Who” cooked the charges against Bisserov so that he is investigated by Roman Vassilev’s unit? (Bracket again – Roman Vassilev is known as one of the prosecutors-friends with Delyan Peevski. This is the same prosecutor, who during GERB’s term was a passionate supporter of Tsvetan Tsvetanov and illegally approved use of special surveillance devices on behalf of the Minister. Coincidence or not, Hristo Bisserov was again the first one to speak about this.)
Who did Bisserov prevent from doing something?
Why the police hits in the energy sector? After Bogomil Manchev, “the thrashing” of Bisserov is on the same topic.
As for the “biggest corruption scandal” in recent history, as the case was presented – this is for the Court to decide. I am not Tsvetan Tsvetanov to issue out-of-court verdicts.
And as for the rest – this week to the question “Who,” we have to add another one, directed towards the so-called “Power.”
I have given you a model that I personally intend to follow:
“Who suggested Peevski for Head of the National Security Agency? And did Hristo Bisserov prevent this “Who?” from doing something?
We are watching a complicated story that was given to us almost as an advertisement; this is not the most important and not the core.
So far, we know with certainty that the political system “spat” Bisserov out, citing old facts and without insisting that the money was result of a crime. As we know that the question of our time is Who (stands behind)?, then we cannot believe that this “spit” has pure motives.
P.S. There is one other question, which will soon be answered. Who will replace Bisserov as Deputy Chairman of DPS? And is this going to be Kamen Kostadinov, who, like Roman Vassilev, is known to be close to Delyan Peevski? And perhaps to the “Who?”
The text is from the blog of Bulgarian journalist, Polina Paunova, System of Errors, and is published with the consent of the author.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian