Greek Court Bans Use of Fake Mortgage to Seize Libyan Tanker

Екип на Биволъ

The Athens Court of First Instance ruled on January 30, 2019, a precautionary measure prohibiting the use of the maritime mortgage for the BADR tanker. The measure is at the request of the Libyan company owner of the tanker as it claims that the mortgage has been forged. The same is claimed by notary Ioanna Andreadaki in a complaint to the Greek Prosecutor’s Office whose investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, it became known that the license of private law enforcement agent (PLEA) Totko Kolev, who organized the hijacking of BADR, had been revoked by the Disciplinary Committee of the Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents at the request of the Bulgarian Justice Minister for gross violations of the law, nevertheless, the government continues to keep silent and who knows why it is not boasting about this initiative. Totko Kolev is appealing the decision.

All ownership claims of “Bulgargeomin” Ltd, behind which are companies associated with the scandalous lawyer Tsvetan Tsanev and the waste management company “Titan”, are based on a EUR-9 million maritime mortgage issued in Athens, bearing the signature and the seal of notary Ioanna Andreadaki. However, this mortgage is forged, Andreadaki insists.

Bivol talked on the phone with notary Andreadaki and published her confirmation as early as December 31, 2018, a few days after the tanker was brutally hijacked by Bulgargeomin’s thugs. It became clear later that the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office has been working on the fake mortgage case since July but has not issued any precautionary measures to prevent the use of the fake document for property dispositions.

And now, the decision of the Court in Athens that this mortgage cannot be used as a trustworthy document is a fact.

Bivol has documents from which it is clear that besides the fake mortgage, “Bulgargeomin” Ltd has provided entirely fake documents to “Maritime Administration” to release the ship from arrest. All security certificates, as well as the temporary Panamanian Navigation License, number 000265462, have been forged.

After it became clear that The Panama Maritime Authority had launched a procedure to withdraw the flag of BADR over a complaint by the legitimate Libyan owner, the new illegal owners of BADR ordered the tanker to weigh anchor and flee to Odessa. As in a scene like from a movie, the ship was pursued by a border police cutter because it refused to obey orders to return to the Burgas Bay.

Ministry of the Interior continues to keep silent about the pirate attack involving its employees

By the end of 2018, Bivol first published the certified testimonies of the captain and the crew about exactly what happened on December 21 in the Burgas Bay. All testimonies firmly point to an armed attack by government officers and private security guards from the unlicensed company “Bashev Team & Security”, who abused and humiliated the sailors on board BADR, forced the legitimate crew to leave the vessel, and replaced it with another one under the command of a Ukrainian captain.

In addition, Bivol provided evidence that active police officers had served as private security guards of “Bashev Team & Security” in violation of the Ministry of the Interior Act.  Bivol revealed that Alexander Vassilev Longochev (on the headline photo), a policeman from the special police task force in the Bulgarian capital (SPS-Sofia), had boarded BADR in a uniform of “Bashev Team & Security”. He has been identified by Captain Abdullah Abdul Jalil as one of the people who hijacked the tanker on December 21, 2018.

License of PLEA Totko Kolev secretly revoked

In Bulgaria, the actions for the appropriation of the ship have been led by PLEA Totko Kolev, as it turns out, absolutely illicitly. After foreclosing the tanker, he has handed out an invitation for voluntary execution and, subsequently, a summons for a forced execution to the ship agent “White Group”, with which, however, “Libyan Navigator” Ltd. has no relationship. Thus, the real owner has been unaware of what has been happening and has been unable to defend itself against the forced inventory of the tanker, which was done on February 8, 2018 at 11 am. Furthermore, Totko Kolev has ignored the suspension of the forced execution by the Burgas Regional Court in a rule from February 6, 2018. Kolev’s next violation is that he has concluded the public sale of the tanker one day before the deadline, while part of the sale documentation is missing. The imperative provision under the law for notifying the National Revenue Agency has been violated as well. To top it all, the documentation is missing signatures and has not been filed as required by the law.

All these actions show that Totko Kolev has acted as a kamikaze with the sole motivation to conclude the appropriation of the tanker in favor of Bulgargeomin. The Disciplinary Committee of the Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents had imposed the heftiest disciplinary sanction – revocation of his PLEA License as early as November 19, 2018. This, however, had not prevented Totko Kolev from continuing with the execution actions and in the last days of 2018, he organized the hijacking of the tanker and the removal of his crew with the assistance of thugs, the border police and the staff of “Maritime Administration”.

After all the exploits of PLEA Totko Kolev, which led to an international scandal over the hijacking, the government has not said a word about the disciplinary proceedings initiated by Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva. Its official position was and remains that it is a civil legal dispute, to which the synchronized actions of the Ministry of the Interior, the PLEA and “Maritime Administration” in favor of Bulgargeomin have no relation. The documents, however, prove that the State institutions had been very well aware of the committed outrages, and, at least formally, had launched a probe which is dragging along.

On January 28, 2018, Tsacheva sent a second request for a disciplinary action to the Disciplinary Committee of the Chamber of Private Enforcement Agents. She asked for PLEA Totko Kolev to be temporarily removed from office until the end of the previous disciplinary proceedings. The decision of the Committee is forthcoming. Currently, Totko Kolev is also in the crosshairs of the Burgas Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which has charged him for old sins and is probing him for offenses related to the tanker.

Who is Tsvetan Tsanev?

In just a few months, Tsvetan Tsanev emerged behind two huge international scandals that caused serious reputational damage to Bulgaria – the hijacking of BADR and the laundering of tens of millions of dollars of the regime of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro through Tsanev’s account in Investbank.

The lawyer (Tsanev) with German citizenship who is living in Switzerland also appeared in an investigation by Bivol from 2015, in partnership with Italian colleagues from IRPI/ANCIR entitled “Mafia in Africa”. The investigation established on the basis of documents that Tsanev and two other persons had negotiated with Italian mafia boss Antonino Messicati Vitale to join as “European investors” in a criminal affair with South African diamonds.

There is serious evidence that in his youth, during the time of the Communist regime, he had been involved in the trafficking of amphetamines (captagone) through a German company through the Italian port of Bari.

In the early 1990s, he was charged with captagone trafficking during the time of the regime, when he has also been an agent of the Communist secret services – the State Security.

In the past, Tsanev has had close business connections with people from the so-called “Bankya Circle” over oil business with Russia. One of these individuals is Dimitar Sabev, whose relative Nedyalko Nedyalkov is a Deputy Head of Bulgaria’s National Security Agency (DANS) – the institution tasked with detecting cases of money laundering.

In more recent times, Tsanev and his wife have built business relations with the management of Investbank and the Omani investor in it – Sheikh Adel Said al-Shanfari.


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