Bivol submitted today to the administration of the Parliament a request for access to public information under the Act with the same. It asks the administration to provide documentation related to the probe in the origin of funds of Irena Krasteva, owner of New Bulgarian Media Group and mother of the infamous MP Delyan Peevski (from the party of the Turkish minority – Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS). Peevski calls the newspapers owned by the press group “my media.”
In 2009, on the initiative of MP Mitko Dimitrov (from the extremist nationalist party Ataka), the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Agency for National Security (DANS) launched a probe in media dealings of Irena Krasteva. Krasteva, a former boss of the state lottery, bought in 2007-2008 the newspapers Monitor, Telegraph, and Politics, and participated in the transfer of ownership of TV7. The findings of the prosecution’s probe have been reported in a meeting of the parliamentary anti-corruption committee on May 21, 2009
Quote from the transcript:
“We are moving on to the second item on the agenda:
CURRENT ISSUES AND CURRENT PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL
Perhaps, colleagues, within the current issues, I should submit some findings.
Colleagues, there are several findings, which in my opinion are of public interest.
One is the response to the inquiry of MP Mitko Dimitrov regarding the origin of capital that has been used to buy several newspapers – the so-called “Media Pool.” The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation has conducted a probe in the case. The conclusion of the prosecution is that it did not establish any violations in the ownership and in the manner in which it was acquired.
So, colleagues, based on what we have received from the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation, our proposal is to terminate the case.
There are more details; I am not presenting the full report, of course.”
On this day, Mitko Dimitrov did not attend the meeting, as he has been campaigning in Veliko Tarnovo. This is what he, himself, explained before Bivol. Dimitrov has not even seen the file, because the leader of his party Ataka, Volen Siderov, had taken it away.
“I provided to Volen Siderov, at his request, all correspondence in the case and the report! … And I don’t know what it was used for and where it is now located. All this happened at the end of May 2009,” said Dimitrov.
However, the rapporteur’s statement revealed that the anti-corruption committee had another copy of the probe to which Bivol is requesting access under the Access to Public Information Act. The Parliament has 14 days to respond.
Earlier, the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation and the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office denied Bivol access to the file, which is of great public interest. It contains data on loans granted to Irena Krasteva from Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), owned by Tsvetan Vassilev, who claims that he has no connection whatsoever with any media.
However, investigations of Bivol and Mediapool proved with documents that there was a formal link between the companies of Tsvetan Vassilev and those of Irena Krasteva and for several months the banker was even co-owner of New Bulgarian Media Group.
The shareholders book of New Bulgarian Media Group Holding in which the shares of the companies VIVES and TC-IME, owned by Tsvetan Vassilev, are recorded.
The request under the Access to Public Information Act explicitly emphasized that the information is requested in conditions of an overriding public interest in its disclosure and dissemination within the meaning of § 1 – Item 5 and 6 of the Additional Directives of the Access to Public Information Act in conjunction with Article 13 – Paragraph 4, Article 17 – Paragraph 2, Article 31 – Paragraph 5and Article 37 -Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the same Act, as it aims to increase transparency and accountability of a subject mandated under the Act and to expose corruption and abuse of power. This means that it is irrelevant whether the requested documents contain trade or business secrets and that providing them will not require the consent of third parties.
In the event the documents from the probe are classified, the request asks to provide the following information in the form of reference:
– The name of the bank that lent funds for acquisition of newspapers;
– The amount of the loan, the term of repayment and interest rate;
– The dates of granting the loans and the repayment deadlines;
– Data about the origin of funds for repayment of loans;
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