In November, a team of Bivol filmed on camera Mladen Mondeshki in front of a hotel near the mountain site “Beklemeto”. He is the younger brother of lawyer Momchil Mondeshki, who shot to fame over the “Yaneva Gate” recordings.
We wanted to find out the origin of the funding that Mladen Mondeshki has used to acquire the company “Elma” Troyan (the town of). But he dodged our questions, got into his luxury SUV and fled.
Nevertheless, we have established that First Investment Bank (FIB) has financed the purchase.
Besides the loan contract, Bivol possesses other documentary evidence showing connections between the owners of FIB and the family Mondeshki. In one of the recordings from “Yaneva Gate”, Mondeshki says that he had spoken on the phone with people from FIB and they were willing to raise money to save judge Yaneva from being “finished”. In another recording, which the editorial office also possesses, lawyer Momchil Mondeshki talks about the owners and majority shareholders of FIB, Tseko Minev and Ivaylo Mutafchiev as “Tzeko and Ivaylo”. He argues that “Ivaylo is a cop at heart”, actually a fact that is confirmed by Mutafcheiv’s past as an agent of the former Communist secret services with the codename “Kamen”.
A curious detail is another allegation by Mondeshki – that there is a conflict between the two owners of FIB. “One tries to screw the other,” says Mondeshki. He even adds that “Tzeko will be very happy if he manages to send Ivaylo to jail!”
Mondeshki Clan – from Sofia to Troyan
In the last two years, the popularity of lawyer Momchil Mondeshki soared. He became infamous mainly along the scandal “Yaneva Gate”, however, this is not the first discrediting story in which Mondeshki is a protagonist. In the course of the “Belvedere” insolvency case, the company “Belvedere”, a subsidiary of the French Alcoholic Beverages Corporation, lawyer Momchil Mondeshki, his brother Mladen, the other participant in the recorded conversations – judge Rumyana Chenalova, and trustee Panayot Velkov, have turned into a prime example of murky justice.
The outcome of the case “Belvedere” was reached only after the intervention of the-then French Ambassador to Bulgaria His Excellency Xavier Laper de Cabanne. He declared that no foreign or Bulgarian investor can feel safe in Bulgaria. The Frenchman did not hide his anger caused by the attempt to seize the Bulgarian subsidiary of the French company with the assistance of the Sofia City Court, using the term the “bad apples” in the judiciary.
The scandal with the French alcohol manufacturer was just beginning to fade when lawyer Momchil Mondeshki found himself in the “spotlight” once again, this time over “Yaneva Gate” when Bivol published the recordings of conversations between him, Vladimira Yaneva and Rumyana Chenalova. At the time of their taping, Yaneva was President of the Sofia City Court, while Chenalova was a judge there. Despite the huge scandal that even found its place in the European Commission’s report under the Monitoring Mechanism, the Supreme Judicial Council (SCM) and Prosecutor’s Office refused to investigate the evidence of influence trafficking and abuse of office.
At the beginning of these conversations, Mondeshki’s participation is rather modest but becomes much more noticeable in the third “season”. He asks Yaneva to urgently remove from the court a red folder that was making him nervous. He also reveals that people from FIB have been collecting money to save Yaneva and that Prime Minister Boyko Borisov often has sex in his office with women who visits him, films the encounters with two cameras and discusses them with friends during card games and other juicy details involving the Prime Minister’s closest circle.
Momchil Mondeshki later offered self-incriminating confessions in an interview with Trud (Labor) daily, by saying that the recording were staged deliberately and consciously by Vladimira Yaneva, Rumyana Chenalova and himself to serve as insurance against the “finishing” and be used to blackmail people mentioned in the conversations. Of course, he failed to explain what the red folder was.
Currently, Momchil Mondeshki basks in the glory of being close to controversial lawmaker and media mogul, Delyan Peevski. He is part of the closest lawyers’ circle of the oligarch that also includes Geno Andreev and Alexander Angelov. His acquaintances say that he is a master of intrigues and does a “good job” when there is something to be gained.
On his part, his brother, Mladen Mondeshki, demonstrates closeness to Peevski’s party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), as evidenced by photos available to Bivol.
From right to left – Mladen Mondeshki, DPS MP Ceyhan Ibryamov and the Chairman of DPS Mustafa Karadaya.
Two court sentences
There are two court sentences against Momchil Mondeshki. This did not prevent him from joining the lawyers bar in the city of Stara Zagora in 2014. His first conviction has been for document fraud. It was imposed after an agreement with the prosecution in 2005. Mondeshki was sentenced to time spent in the custody of the National Investigation Service and the Lovech prison. His second sentence has been suspended. It is from 2006 for large-scale embezzlement.
According to Bivol sources, at one point, there have been five pending cases against Momchil Mondeshki. At the end of the 1990s, he opened an appliances store in Troyan. The sources say he attempted to commit insurance fraud by declaring his goods stolen. He has later opened an office of the insurance company “Inter American”. He has sold insurance policies without reporting them to the company’s headquarters. Ultimately, Mondeshki has been arrested and convicted.
Before being registered as a lawyer, Mondeshki has been exonerated by the court in Troyan. According to people in the know this has not been done in open court as is the legal procedure for repeat offenders.
Momchil and Mladen Mondeshki have publicly stated on several occasions that Troyan is “theirs”. Their family is closely associated with the police forces in the area. At the time of the Communist regime, their grandfather was a longtime chief of the traffic police in the city of Lovech. Their father Petko Mondeshki is a career policeman (during the regime and after) in the Troyan police precinct.
While in custody, as a police heir, Mondeshki has spied on other prisoners. Once at large, he started to work for several law firms. He has been legal counsel for mobster Nikolay “The Chicken” Metodiev and oligarch Nikolay Banev and his wife Evgeniya.
Phantom Legal Counsel
Momchil Mondeshki has been registered as a lawyer without taking the bar exam because he has presented a certificate showing that he had five years of legal experience at the Thermal Power Plant (TPP) in Kazanlak, owned by the Banev family. However, Evgeniya denies that he had a contract there and says that there has never been a legal adviser position at the TPP.
Experts from the Steering Committee for Legal Reform (IKAR) told Bivol that if the above information is confirmed, this would constitute document fraud perpetrated by Mondeshki and another reason to delete his registration. IKAR have approached the Supreme Bar Council and the Bar Association in the city of Stara Zagora over the case Mondeshki. On October 20, 2016, they submitted a written request for disciplinary proceedings in connection with the scandalous statements of lawyer Momchil Mondeshki in the Yaneva Gate recordings.
IKAR have learned from the media that the Bar Association in Stara Zagora is indeed probing Momchil Mondeshki, but they do not know whether he has been notified as the law requires. Approached by Bivol, the Bar Association refused to shed light on the subject.
A week after “meeting” Momchil Mondeshki at “Beklemeto”, the driver, the cameraman and the reporter from Bivol were summoned for a check in the Police Precinct in Troyan on a signal by Mladen Mondeshki. The first one to appear was forced to sign a restraining order.
The logical question arises whether the family Mondeshki is guarded with restraining orders on the backdrop of Bivol having the entire encounter videotaped as proof that the team has in no way breached the law.
The prosecution is yet to respond to the questions of Bivol what were the grounds for summoning our reporter Dimitar Stoyanov; whether there is any prosecution file or this is just an initiative of the police.
Last year, Stoyanov was followed and his apartment was broken into. This happened while he was working on an investigation related to FIB. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the OSCE then responded with a call on Bulgarian authorities to investigate these attacks against f the journalist. As it usually happens in Bulgaria, the perpetrators remain unknown.
On December 23, 2016, Reporters Without Borders issued a statement, also calling on the Bulgarian authorities to protect Dimitar Stoyanov and to provide a progress report on their investigation into the grave threats he has been getting for the past year.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian