The global credit rating agency FITCH slashed yesterday Bulgarian First Investment Bank’s (FIB) credit rating by as much as three levels. This unprecedented occurrence was preceded by a series of investigations of Bivol in how this bank distributes monstrous amounts of money in the form of bad credits to connected companies and individuals, while the non-provisioned exposures exceeded 170% of FIB’s equity. We sent alerting signals to the central bank (Bulgarian National Bank, BNB) and the Prosecutor’s Office as we felt that it was our duty and responsibility to prevent a repeat of the situation with the failed Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB) and the recurrence of the collapse of a second large bank which can practically topple the entire financial system of the state. No such luck! Nobody wanted to deal with our evidence and to examine whether the Credit Institutions Act is being drastically violated. It is clear that the government and the watchdogs are cooperating since they refuse to probe specific evidence of crimes. It is also clear that the phenomenon “Peevski” now has found a new financial feeder and his own little State for private use will pet him behind the ears to not spoil his comfort and deprive his snout from the mash. And no one cares that the “bread” of the entire nation is at stake. Surely all of them will have to face justice tomorrow, if not before Bulgarians, but before international and European institutions, for their organized criminal activity and their collective conspiracy against democratic laws and principles. Such time is near.
FITCH downgraded FIB because it reads Bivol
Now that FITCH has spoken, things are slowly starting to become clearer to the horror of thugs in power. Unlike them, analysts abroad read Bivol and make their conclusions. FITCH’s opinion will probably be followed by other credit agencies. Most likely, the European Commission (EC) will not allow any further budget injections for the bank which cannot cover its financial inadequacy. Bivol is continuing its investigations that shed light to the public about what is actually happening in FIB and if there are grounds for the drastic lowering of its credit rating. The question that we ask the responsible institutions is
Is FIB laundering money?
Are owners draining the depositors’ accounts? The scheme, proven below with documents, is the following:
A company receives unsecured loans from FIB, transfers them into a dummy company and then directly to companies and offshore companies of FIB’s owners.
The company VEILMES Ltd. has been established in 2006 with the purpose of wholesale trade of meat. It has no production facilities, but a benevolent banker – FIB. On July, 31, 2007, FIB granted 9 million euro in credit-overdraft on a current account with goods in the turnover of other companies as collateral. A year later, FIB granted a 2-million-euro bank guarantee, secured by several properties and receivables in a dozen of connected companies.
VEILMES did not pay back its obligations, and on March 7, 2013, it filed a bankruptcy claim (doc. in the gallery). FIB was left with the task of collecting the collateral – a few meadows in the Kostinbrod and Ihtiman areas, and several properties.
For seven years, VEILMES had not considered it necessary to file a single annual financial declaration with the National Revenue Agency (NRA) and there is no way to find out what turnovers, profits, and/or losses it had. Bivol’s investigation, however, revealed that in 2011 only, 1,416,820 euro have been transferred from the account in euro (ending in 0I10Q) of VEILMES in FIB to the company BRANDEL SENT 2000.
The short fuse
BRANDEL SENT 2000 was established on February 20, 2006, and it was registered in the town of Elin Pelin by Pavlina Bocheva (doc. in the gallery), who was entered as its owner and manager and who remains such until today. Like VEILMES, she has not filed a single annual declaration. Moreover – the company never had and does not have a VAT registration, which means that its turnover should not exceed 50,000 levs. This is definitely not true. At the end of November 2011, the euro account of BRANDAL shows the enviable proceeds of 4,411,868 euro and 4,411,023 million euro in debit.
Besides the transfers from VEILMES, BRANDEL received massive amounts in cash, deposited over the counter by someone named Dimitar Georgiev Simeonov. He was born in 1972; has no corporate interests and owns several meadows in Northwestern Bulgaria. However, he regularly brought to the bank 50 to 100,000 euro in cash to “fuel” BRANDEL’s account.
On what grounds was this happening? What is the origin of the money? These are the questions that any bank that respects the regulations on money laundering would bring forward, together with the respective authorities that fight against financial crimes.
Moreover, on the same days when the transfers from VEILMES and the cash contributions from Dimitar Georgiev were received, the money was leaving the account as it was transferred to accounts abroad. The transferred amounts greatly exceeded the limits for monitoring by the financial intelligence – 100,000, 200,000, 500,000 euro. But the discretion of the bank has a simple explanation. The thing is that the final destination of this money was not accidental:
Millions went to companies associated with the owners of FIB
In 2011 alone, 1,450,000 euro has been wired from BRANDEL’s account to the BVI offshore company SANTA FE TRADING. The transfers continued in 2012. Formally these transfers were justified by a contract between BRANDEL and SANTA FE from October 10, 2010, for the import of 600 tons of frozen boneless beef, which was to end on December 31, 2011 (docs. in the gallery).
How a firm without VAT registration traded such quantities of meat and operated such amounts is a mystery which NRA would not address, despite persistent inquiries by Bivol to its press office and requests under the Access to Public Information Act (APIA). The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA), which registers and monitor the imports of meat, however, replied to the request under APIA (doc: 5-babh-brandel).
BRANDEL SENT is not a registered trader and never dealt with meat trade
The same goes for VEILMES. Packages with imported meat for the companies VEILMES and BRANDEL SENT never passed the cross-border checkpoints, BFSA wrote in its response.
BRANDEL, however, also had a contract with VEILMES, and payments under it strangely correlated with payments to the Cypriot company. In brief, whatever came from VEILMES in BRANDEL, was immediately wired to SANTA FE. And the amounts were quite serious:
May 5, 2011 – 500,000 euro were transferred to VEILMES and 500,000 euro left on the same day to SANTA FE’s account in the Cyprus branch of FIB;
May 30, 2011 – 302,000 euro were transferred to VEILMES and 302,000 euro left on the same day to SANTA FE’s account in the Cyprus branch of FIB;
November, 7, 2011 – 500,000 euro were transferred to VEILMES and 500,000 euro left on the same day to SANTA FE’s account in the Cyprus branch of FIB;
(Full details/copies of these transfers are kept in the editorial office in the event law enforcement agencies show interest)
Meanwhile, Dimitar Georgiev continued to carry cash which also went to SANTA FE. Incoming cash operations with simultaneous transfers to the Cyprus account multiplied in 2012. Georgiev’s deposits (sometimes in levs, sometimes in euro) are indicated in the attached table as credit contributions and the transfers to SANTA FE as debit.
Furthermore, on June 8, 2012, BRANDEL received a transfer of 100,000 euro from the company MAXESS BULGARIA LTD. This is also a company without history, without annual reports, with 50 levs in capital and removed from the VAT register three months earlier. On the same day, the money was transferred in the account of SANTA FE.
SANTA FE received from BRANDEL bank transfers in the total amount of 2.44 million euro in 2011 and 2012.
What is SANTA FE TRADING? The company appeared in a major investigation of Bivol in connected lending in FIB as one of the owners of VINPROM ELHOVO which has received a loan of 5.7 million levs from FIB. According to the BVI trade register (doc. in the gallery), an individual named Evdokiya Maklamuzi is SANTA FE’s owner. Together with Georgiou Georgios, she is also the co-owner of a large number of BVI and Cypriot companies that received loans of over one billion levs from FIB. On his part, Georgios manages a subsidiary of FIB – FRAMAS – and is the Director of the offshore LEGNANO ENTERPRISES, owned by FIB majority shareholders Tseko Minev and Ivaylo Mutafchiev.
The fact that on December 14, 2007, the Executive Director of the Cyprus branch of FIB, Enyu Nedelev, personally sent a fax to Ivaylo Mutafchiev to inform him that an account was opened for SANTA FE (doc. in the gallery) shows that SANTA FE has a special status for the bank owners. However, there is even a more direct and undeniable link between the cash flows and the bank’s owners. According to reports, which Bivol has, 250,000 euro were used to fuel
A tour operator company of Radka Mineva
The company BALKAN HOLIDAYS LTD has received this sum from BRANDEL in its bank account in BARCLAYS BANK London in 2011. The money was transferred in four tranches on February 15 and 16 and was deposited on the same dates by Dimitar Georgiev in cash. For what? The reasons for the transfer refer to “consultations and purchases of goods under contract 013/2010”.
BALKAN HOLIDAYS LTD is part of the tour operator Balkan Holidays, which has companies in England, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
The ownership of the English company that received money from BRANDEL is hidden in an offshore on the Channel Islands (Jersey), but its director is Radka Mineva, wife of Tseko Minev and member of the Supervisory Board, while the brother of Ivaylo Mutafchiev – Georgi Mutafchiev – is the commercial director (doc. in the gallery), who is also in the management of FIB.
In Bulgaria, BALKAN HOLIDAYS SERVICES is managed by Radka Mineva. The majority owner is MANTOVACO LIMITED, whose directors and owners with 50% each are Georgios Georgiou and… Evdokiya Maklamuzi (doc. in the gallery), the owner of SANTA FE.
In Cyprus, the local BALKAN HOLIDAYS is owned by Georgios Georgiou and Evdokiya Maklamuzi has 0.1% of the capital.
BALKAN HOLIDAYS SERVICES and VILKANIA LTD, which also belongs to the ubiquitous Georgios Georgiou, are the owners of the airline BH AIR that recently announced that it might fly to the United States. BH AIR is also associated with YULEN, the concessionaire of the ski facilities in the Bulgarian winter resort of Bansko. Its subsidiary BH AIR LOGISTICS uses several terrains at Sofia Airport as collateral for a loan of 77 million levs from FIB to YULEN – a loan without which the company with appetites to build all over the Pirin Mountain would have gone bankrupt long ago.
No connection of the owners of the bank with individuals and companies seriously implicated in massive money laundering and the bank’s capital drain!
The State Agency for National Security (DANS) keeps silent; the Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime (GDBOP) is idle
Under Bulgarian legislation against money laundering, the financial intelligence in DANS should be informed about the amounts transferred from FIB to the Cyprus branch. One can establish with a click of the mouse that the account holder – BRANDEL SENT – is a company without VAT registration. But at the time when these transfers happened, Polina Kavrakova was Head the Money Laundering Counteracting Department in DANS. Then she was entitled to an overdraft of 140,000 levs by FIB, according to her property declaration with the National Audit Office (NAO) – not a mortgage, but an overdraft on a current account, just to spend as she pleased.
The anti-mafia police from the Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime (GDBOP) should also have a look at these financial transactions. An apartment on “Mur” street in Sofia, which belongs to the wanted by Interpol Ivan Tanev AKA the Universal, can be found among the property used as collateral for VEILMES’ loan from FIB (doc. in the gallery). The son of Georgi Tanev, former Agriculture Minister in the government of Lyuben Berov, became infamous at the end of 2012 after a police operation against a group dealing with VAT draining, including through food deliveries for the poor, financed by the European Union. Tanev’s role in the schemes to transfer money from FIB to the offshore companies of its owners is not at all coincidental. Although wanted, Tanev has regular legal representation in Court proceedings in Bulgaria that he has filed against FIB. Apparently, the Universal is neither untraceable nor does he intend to be solely responsible for the scam with the syphoned loans, but you can read about this in the sequel to follow.
Instead of comment
The model # Who used CCB as a crutch. That was the basic mantra repeated for years by those disgruntled with the criminal status quo of the backstage puppeteers that rule Bulgaria behind all institutionally legitimized political actors and power structures. CCB fell ostentatiously and opened a huge for our budget black hole of about 4 billion levs. The bank’s assets, which are of national importance, are devalued and are in the process of being redistributed, while the Bulgarian people will pay the missing money. It turned out that those responsible for the financial disaster are ruling politicians, lawmakers, magistrates and public figures. All of them, led by the ubiquitous Delyan Peevski, a former favored partner of CCB majority shareholder Tsvetan Vasilev, are now demonizing the latter and claiming that his name is behind the iconic and fundamental question #WHO. From a mentor, sponsor and an ideal partner for the country’s entire ruling clique, Vasilev suddenly became a scapegoat for all the outrages from the past 10 years that tossed Bulgaria into the oblivion of democratic societies and ravaged the country to the level of an ugly corrupt countryside, managed by landowners with criminal or Communist secret services snitch background. The last two are different parts of the same organism.
CCB is gone; Vasilev is gone too, but the model # WHO continues to exist even stronger, more ominous and omnipresent than before. This model necessarily needs a convenient bank through which to consume; to be rich; to launder dirty money and appropriate resources. Here, however, we face two absurdly different concepts of State and they must be distinguished from each other.
One is to rob the State where all of us, ordinary Bulgarian citizens, are being treated as Egyptian slaves.
The other State is in the government and is appropriated for personal use. It provides and assists the colossal criminal plundering of the national assets and public wealth for the benefit of a small neo-feudal clique, inevitably involved with the former structures of the Communist dictatorship. All are part of this scheme – the Council of Ministers and its departments, the Parliament, the Judiciary and the majority of the municipalities, where political puppets, loyal to the criminal oligarchic power, are going wild unperturbed, demonstrating unique greed and ruthlessness. The conspiracy is total, while the political spells of different parties are only a cynical exterior facade. Real life endlessly proves the scary diagnosis; Bulgarians feel it on their backs and see how our nation has been victimized for us and the next generations. The arrogant bastards’ gang can survive only as total parasites inevitably entrenched and multiplying in power.
If we assume that CCB maintained and funded the disgusting model # WHO, against whom the “smart and beautiful” Bulgarians protested, now, after CCB collapsed, the following legitimate questions arise: Why didn’t #WHO collapse? What is the next bank which this model uses in his public vampirism? Why aren’t’ the “smart and beautiful” protesting? Did # WHO disappear; isn’t his sinister shadow still hanging over society?
When Bivol was ringing the bell for years about what the tandem Peevski-CCB, the “Buddha” Prime Minister pretended to be blind and deaf. Now “Buddha” is playing make believe that he had nothing to do with it all and refuses to assume personal responsibility for the catastrophe for which he is to be fundamentally blamed. Funny how Buddha, BNB and his subordinates – the Prosecutor’s Office and the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) will justify their actions in the future, when the publications of Bivol will be inevitably validated and the cruel reality will confirm them with an unbearably heavy price!? We will then take care to remind them so that the public can clearly and categorically see # Who is actually in the foundations of the model #WHO.
In part two you will see that the assessment of former US Ambassador in Sofia John Beyrle that FIB is a “bad apple”, “considered to have one foot in the legitimate retail world… as well as one in the murkier criminal realm” is incomplete. It has not one, but two feet in an organized criminal group stealing VAT and EU funds…
To be continued
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