European Commission: Identity of FIB Monitoring Trustee Cannot Be Disclosed

The plan, approved by the European Commission (EC), for the restructuring of private lender First Investment Bank (FIB) after the State aid introduced the figure of an independent qualified Monitoring Trustee, who is to report directly to the EC (paragraphs 60 and 128 of the document) the compliance with the conditions and the correct application of the plan for the restructuring of the Bank. The Trustee must report in writing every three months (paragraph 129 of the document).

Bivol asked the European Commission whether such a Monitoring Trustee has been selected and approved and received a positive response. This is an internationally recognized consulting company, but its name remains secret.

Bulgaria has committed to appoint a Monitoring Trustee, to ensure the correct implementation of the restructuring plan and the commitments contained in it. Based on the proposals of Bulgaria, the Commission has approved an internationally recognized consulting firm as the Monitoring Trustee. Since the Monitoring Trustee has to work independently and the Monitoring Reports are not public, the identity of the Trustee cannot be publicly disclosed.

According to the application of the plan, which lists the commitments of the Bulgarian government, the figure of the Monitoring Trustee may be an investment bank, a consultant or auditor, whose specialized knowledge, expertise and human resources are necessary to fulfill the mandate. The same paragraph 23 of the Annex states that the Trustee should not be at any time exposed to any conflict of interest.
The ability to establish a conflict of interest is the only case in which the Monitoring Trustee may be changed at the request of the Commission (paragraph 32 of the Annex).

The lack of publicity, however, precludes civil and media control on possible conflict of interest of the Monitoring Trustee. Bivol will renew its request for information on who is the Monitoring Trustee of FIB by citing Regulation 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council, according to which citizens have access to all documents kept in the European institutions.


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