On the picture – Ivan Danov and Rejane Biolet, Head of the Unit for “Preventing and Combating Abuse and Sensitive Cases” of the French Employment Services, who refuses to investigate Danov over political cover-up.
A report about the abuses of the French tax and social system was aired last evening in prime time by the French TV channel M6. The “Restricted Area” program revealed why the French services do not bother former Bulgarian Minister Ivan Danov. He was exposed in an investigation of Bivol in abusing the French welfare system and in unlawfully receiving over 14,000 euro. The program can be seen here.
“Stop! Can you stop the camera. Immediately! “- Rejane Biolet, Head of the Unit for “Preventing and Combating Abuse and Sensitive Cases” of the French Employment Services is visibly upset when asked about Danov. “Why, do you know about this case? Is it difficult?” asked the journalists. She confirmed.
However, the French journalists did not stop and told how Ivan Danov received unemployment benefits in France while working in Bulgaria. They presented the documents and the facts disclosed by Bivol and asked Rejane Biolet whether she has launched an investigation in order to collect for the French State the illegally obtained money.
“The affair is political, I prefer not to do it,” she makes a stunning confession before the camera after a having developed a little earlier the thesis that abuses of unemployment benefits are great evil that is a challenge for the French social system, which is “one of the best in the world.”.The story was filmed while Ivan Danov was still Minister of Investment Planning in the government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski.
The episode with Ivan Danov is part of a broad investigative material in abuses, tax evasion and draining of social funds that cost the French state about 80 billion euro yearly, which is equal to the annual budget deficit.
The “contribution” of the former Bulgarian Minister is only 14,000 euro, obtained illegally in 2004-2005 when he returned to Bulgaria; took back his teaching post at the University for Architecture, Construction and Urban Planning, and designed large facilities such as the golf complex “Ibar” in the Sofia suburb of Dolna Banya (where disgraced lawmaker Hristo Bisserov has a house). Atanas Chobanov from Bivol told the story, revealed by the site, to the French journalists; showed them the golf course designed by Danov and Bivol’s correspondence with the French Employment Services, which never responded to the requests for the authentication of the documents.
In front of the camera, Danov, himself, does not deny any of the facts, but disparages them. He also admits that he worked as a lecturer at the University for “maximum 12 hours a week”. The French journalists comment that the Minister has answered their questions too arrogantly, in the presence of his entire political office and his attorney. Before them Danov claimed that he did not know about the money he received in his bank account and that he did not spent it. “I am not the cause of the crisis in Europe,” he jokes.
To enter the system of unemployment benefits, however, he had to appear in person at the Labor Bureau, undergo an interview, and then he had to confirm every month his status as a job seeker in France. These steps, as well as the control mechanisms of the accuracy of the statements are detailed in the report of M6. If Danov did all this while working in Bulgaria, this amounts to a false declaration – presentation of false documents. Danov responds abruptly to the question of the French journalists who did the update of his unemployment status: “No one. I do not know”.
Cover-up by the Services?
Suspicions of political protection for Ivan Danov arose after he gave a press conference in the company of two former high-ranking French officers, Rémi Thuau and Gérard Zerbi, respectively President and Responsible for Police Matters of Civipol, a French advisory company of the Ministry of Interior, in which the French State has a 40% stake.
The French magazine L’Express, which also follows Danov’s the case, reported about the press conference at the Ministry of Investment Planning on February 24, 2014, where Zerbi literally said: “Me, I can attest that Danov Ivan has no problem with France. I can certify!”
It remains a mystery what connects Ivan Danov and senior French officers who, according to unofficial information of Bivol, sell in Bulgaria security equipment to companies associated with former crime groups.
L’Express speculated that the reason is a French investment projects. The magazine quoted an anonymous official of the French Ministry of the Interior, who claimed that the visit of the representatives of Civipol in Bulgaria “was in no way linked to the charges against Danov, on which the French Police Force has nothing to say“. The source has also reminded that the mission of Cevipol was merely to “assess risks for French companies wanting to invest in Bulgaria.”
“This is certainly a coincidence, but it happens that all foreign investment projects are subject to the approval of Minister Ivan Danov…,” concludes L’Express.
It is also a fact that Danov enjoys protections because official France is not treating him as a “small-time crook”, not holding him at all accountable and the M6 report confirms it.
Bivol took the liberty to propose another hypothesis – that Minister Ivan Danov has been recruited by the French, and in return received immunity from investigation in France.
The French Embassy, however, deemed this hypothesis worthy of a special press release in which it denied it. “We firmly refute recent claims, published on the site Bivol, according to which Mr. Ivan Danov has been recruited by French secret services in exchange for keeping him as member of the Bulgarian government,” the message read in French and Bulgarian.
Meanwhile, the ten-year statute of limitations for the return of the money received by Danov began to expire as he started receiving 1,800 euro per month in September 2004.
According to the French law, the limitation period for document fraud that is used to receive such money is five years and it has expired. This is not so, however, according to the Bulgarian Penal Code and a prosecutor’s probe against Danov is still ongoing.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian