Bulgarian National Security Agency’s Own Probe Confirms Ties between its Deputy Director and Notorious Attorne

by Екип на Биволъ

The Deputy Director of Bulgaria’s National Security Agency (DANS) Nedyalko Nedyalkov is a close relative of Dimitar Sabev, a former collaborator and agent with the codename “Assen” of the Communist regime’s special services – the State Security (DS), known as the “Bulgarian KGB”, and a prominent member of the so-called “Bankya Circle”. He has also held executive positions in companies of Dimitar Sabev and Maxim Dimov, according to a probe by a special DANS task force, appointed on the order of the Agency’ Director Dimitar Georgiev, after instructions by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

A month ago, an investigation by Bivol established that Sabev, Dimov and notorious attorney Tsvetan Tsanev have had mutual business connections. Tsanev is the holder of the Investbank account, which has been used to funnel tens of millions of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company (PDVSA). In the past, Sabev, Dimov and Tsanev have been managers of subsidiaries of the Russian oil company “Rusneftekhim“. Tsanev and Dimov have managed jointly “Rusneftekhim Balkans“, while Dimov and Sabev – “RNK Petrol”, which is owned by “Rusneftekhim Bulgaria”. Maxim Dimov is still listed as a representative and member of the Board of Directors of “RNK Petrol”.

From “PetroleumGate” to the Venezuelan Laundromat

Maxim Dimov is a former lawmaker from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), the party largely representing Bulgaria’s Muslim minority and later a treasurer of the National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NDSV) of former Tsar and Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg. One of his joint ventures with Dimitar Sabev is “Elmaz 24”. The company is quoted in the note of the British Embassy from 2000 to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, revealed during the “PetroleumGate” investigation by a Bulgarian parliamentary committee. The British argued that this company had been involved in arms supplies and had been an intermediary for Iraqi oil deals in violation of the oil embargo against the regime of Saddam Hussein. According to media publications, Nedyalko Nedyalkov has worked as an expert in this company, but for now DANS refuses to answer the question in which companies the Deputy Director of the Agency has held executive positions.

On February 15, Bivol sent a formal request to the Prime Minister to comment on Nedyalkov’s connections in the light of these facts, as well as questions to DANS whether these connections could influence the work of the Agency – the institution tasked with detecting cases of money laundering.

The answer demonstrates that, according to DANS, the affiliation and business relations of its Deputy Director have not affected his meticulous work in the case with Nikolas Maduro’s millions. The task force has found that Nedyalko Nedyalkov “had given timely, clear and specific instructions for undertaking the statutory actions regarding the activity of the National Security Agency for the protection the country from attacks posing a danger to its economic and financial security, as well as the activities of the Agency for the prevention and mitigation of money laundering, including the case with the transferred funds from Venezuela to accounts in Bulgaria”.

This statement, however, contradicts the known facts. There is no way that Nedyalko Nedyalkov’s instructions in the case with the Venezuelan millions had been timely. First, because it became clear that the transfers of this money had been in violation of international and Bulgarian laws, right under the nose of the Bulgarian intelligence. As US Ambassador to Bulgaria Eric Rubin noted in an interview with Free Europe that the reason why at least tens of millions of dollars had been transferred to Bulgaria from Venezuela remains unknown, nevertheless it is almost certain that it had not been a good one or that the transfers had been done in accordance with international laws or those of Venezuela and Bulgaria.


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Secondly, why did the Bulgarian intelligence act only after the Americans shared with it the information about these transfers? Moreover, DANS, as the authority in charge under the Anti-Money Laundering Measures Act (AMLMA), has had the entire information on the transfers from Venezuela, as Investbank insists.

On February 14, Investbank distributed a statement to the media in which it categorically denied that it had been involved in illegal operations with money transfers from Venezuela. The Bank claims that all transfers have passed through third banks and have been screened according to international anti-money laundering rules and that it had notified the competent authorities under Art. 72 of the AMLMA.

According to Ambassador Rubin, the United States has the capacity to track cash flows and does it on behalf of the Venezuelan people with partners like Bulgaria.

This is a rebuttal of Prime Minister Borisov’s explanations that the Bulgarian authorities had been the ones to notify the United States about illegal transfers from Venezuela. And if that had been the case, why did it come to light only after the United States put the issue on the table?

We publish the DANS response to Bivol, not excluding the possibility of being mistaken about the participation of the Deputy Director of DANS in Professional Football Club “Chernomoretz” in the coastal town of Balchik due to a complete name coinciding. This fact, however, does not change the essence of the information on Nedyalkov’s former business dealings with companies associated with the former State Security and with notorious Tsvetan Tsanev. Bivol believes that Nedyalkov is in a serious conflict of interest because of the above and his current post and responsibilities in DANS.

“In connection with your questions to DANS, received on February 15, 2019, via email, we would like to inform you of the following:

The Director of the State Agency for National Security Dimitar Georgiev issued an order appointing a task force to carry out a probe to verify the information specified in your inquiry with regard to the Agency’s Deputy Director, Nedyalko Nedyalkov.

Following the probe, we provide the following information to you:

It was found that Nedyalko Nedyalkov is a close relative of a person named Dimitar Assenov Sabev.

In the period 1996-1998, Nedyalkov has worked under an employment contract in an executive position in companies in whose capital Dimitar Sabev and Maxim Dimov have had direct or indirect participation.

The Deputy Director of DANS, Nedyalko Nedyalkov, has not been a member of the Supervisory Board of “Professional Football Club Chernomoretz”, Balchik. The task force has established that the first, middle and last name of the Deputy Director of DANS simply coincides with the one of a member of the Supervisory Board of the football club.

The task force in charge of the probe also found that that the Deputy Director of DANS had given timely, clear and specific instructions for undertaking the statutory actions regarding the activity of the National Security Agency for the protection the country from attacks posing a danger to its economic and financial security, as well as the activities of the Agency for the prevention and mitigation of money laundering, including the case with the transferred funds from Venezuela to accounts in Bulgaria.

Personal data and information about third parties, identified as part of the investigation, cannot be disclosed to the public.”

Press Office, State Agency for National Security

 

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This post is also available in: Bulgarian

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