The telecommunications giant Orange (France Telecom) is interested in buying Bulgarian telecom BTC. This is what Bivol learned from the French consulting group that is represented in our country by man of great experience in the French government.

Orange has a presence in 22 countries and has stepped heavily in Central and Eastern Europe through subsidiaries in Austria, Slovakia, Poland and Romania.

The French, however, risk facing the appetites of the “most notorious bad Bulgarian apple”, shattered by a young man listed in the infamous *notebook of Filip Zlatanov as number 10.

The battle for BTC is actually already in full swing. The disgraced majority shareholder of the failed Corporate Commercial Bank, CCB, Tsvetan Vasilev, is in conflict with his former partners from the Russian bank VTB Capital. Its Bulgarian representatives – former Finance Minister Milen Velchev and his brother Georgi Velchev already took their seats in the company’s management. But behind the commissioners, the fuller figure of another, more dangerous opponent, is emerging.

The conquering of BTC by **Delyan Peevski can happen in two stages. The first is through the shares of a company, which is the nominal owner of the share of VTB in BTC. This share was bought with a loan from TC-IME, which was credited by CCB. TC-IME is now under the control of the “corpulent apple” through a trustee appointed by judge Chenalova who was recently removed as such by the Supreme Judicial Council amidst a growing scandal with a French company.

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The second stage may occur in May, when BTC must repay a loan of 150 million US dollars to an American company. The plan is to have the loan transferred with new terms to private lender First Investment Bank (FIB), but the bank is supervised by the European Commission and should be authorized to grant such an amount, which might not be in the bag.

In addition to Orange, another large French company is interested in the debris of Tsvetan Vassilev’s empire, Bivol learned from the same sources. The Strasbourg-based bank Credit Mutuel, fourth in France with 29.2 million customers and 75,000 employees, has also shown interest in buying the remnants of CCB.

The investment interest of proven and successful European companies in the assets of a collapsed mafia empire is a good chance for the Bulgarian authorities to prove their sincere intentions to regain the lost credibility. Anything else will be conclusive evidence that the backstage rule continues to hold the country in its deadly grip.

*Filip Zlatanov is the former Chair of the Commission on Prevention and Ascertainment of Conflict of Interest. In July 2013, Zlatanov was charged by the prosecution with malfeasance in office after an “intriguing notebook” was seized from his desk. The notebook contained written instructions about a number of cases such as “to strike, to postpone, to delay, and to conceal”. It also made it evident that Zlatanov complied with the instructions. The people mentioned in the notebook included Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev. There were also numerous initials believed to be of leading figures in the then (and now) ruling center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB). All of them vehemently denied any involvement. Zlatanov also adamantly denied he received instructions for his work, saying there were his own notes with ideas about how to proceed and that he forgot who the people behind the initials were. In April 2014, the Sofia City Court sentenced him to three-and-a-half years in prison and he is appealing the sentence. In some more recent developments, the notorious notebook was mysteriously stolen from the car of a graphology expert while he was on his way to return it to the investigation. The whereabouts of the notebook remain unknown. It also emerged that an unknown perpetrator from the prosecution has changed the initials DP (presumed to be of Delyan Peevski) to the number 10.

**Delyan Peevski is a shady media mogul and lawmaker from the party of the Turkish minority, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS. He is believed to have strong influence in politics in Bulgaria by being the frontman of the lifetime honorary Chairman of DPS, Ahmed Dogan, known as the most powerful “puppeteer” of the transition period. In 2013, the year-long protest rallies in the country were sparked by the Parliament’s appointment of Peevski as Chief of the National Security Agency (DANS), forcing the lawmakers to withdraw the appointment.

 

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