The newspapers of Irena Krasteva and her son, shady lawmaker Delyan Peevski, “Monitor”, “Telegraph” and “Politika” (Politics) have been bought with a loan from Tsvetan Vassilev’s Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB). This has become evident from an investigation of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, which Bivol requested from the Parliament under the Access to Public Information Act.
The investigation has been conducted in 2009 on the initiative of Member of the Parliament Mitko Dimitrov from the extreme right nationalist party Ataka (Attack) and the prosecution initially denied to Bivol access to this information.
Formally, the media belong to Irena Krasteva, but her son, who also had a brief stint as Chief of the National Security Agency (DANS), speaks of them as “my media”.
Earlier, after a publication of our colleague Svetoslav Terziev in Sega (Now) daily, banker Tsvetan Vasilev asked the European Commission to refute assertions that he was connected with lending to Delyan Peevski’s media. Before the press, Tsvetan Vasilev alleges that he has never invested in these newspapers and has no relation to the actual media and distribution monopoly imposed by the group Peevski – Krasteva.
The Prosecutor’s Office investigation, which we obtained under the Access to Public Information Act, shows that the loan from KTB was taken in July 2007 and was paid off in November 2007, after the sale of the shares of “Monitor” Ltd and of “Press market” Ltd from the the capital of “Obedineni Bulgarski Vestnitsi” (United Bulgarian Newspapers) Jsc.
Precisely during this same time period, Tsvetan Vassilev and Irena Krasteva were on the board of “United Bulgarian Newspapers” Jsc, which was created for the privatization of the Publishing and Printing Company (IPK) Rodina.
There are also data on lending by KTB bank to connected parties in breach of the law, which, however, DANS and the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office failed to investigate.
Prosecutor Angel Iliev Bozihinov, who signed the declaration for lack of evidence of a crime, was controversially appointed appellate prosecutor by the previous Supreme Judicial Council.
Bivol’s investigation also revealed that the owner of KTB, Tsvetan Vasilev, for several months was also co-owner of New Bulgarian Media Group, and subsequently his shares were bought out by Krasteva.
In a diplomatic cable, focusing on Bulgarian banks, prepared in 2006 by former USA ambassador in Sofia, John Beyrle, KTB is listed as one of the banks “bad apples” that practice “money laundering by Bulgarian and foreign criminals and connected lending.”
In addition to KTB, the ambassador has listed FIB, INVESTBANK and Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB). The banks “bad apples” issue is one of the taboo subjects in Bulgarian media, according to a study, conducted by the “Friedrich Naumann” Foundation.
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