Mr ATANAS TCHOBANOV

Editor-in-Chief of Bivol

Dear Mr Tchobanov,

In a publication on your website under the headline “#GPGate: Consultancy Companies Involved in Grand Corruption with EU Funds and Public Procurement” it is claimed that the company “GP Group” is “associated with the boss of Lukoil” Valentin Zlatev. The same statement is being repeated back and forth for the second day in a row now by Bivol on social networks. At the same time, as evidence in support of this claim, it is stated that the address where “GP” Group is registered was the same as the headquarters of the Lukoil pension company.

For your information, the mentioned pension insurance company has not been in existence since 2009 and was housed at that address for about a year. The building in question has had nothing to do with the LUKOIL group for at least ten years. Mr Valentin Zlatev explicitly states that he has nothing to do with either the ownership or the business of “GP Group”. It is one of the hundreds of companies, banks, insurance companies, manufacturers and suppliers from all sectors that are contractors of the companies of LUKOIL Group in Bulgaria. According to corporate rules, contractors and partners in major project are selected through bidding procedures and are usually among those offering the highest quality in their sector. If this is the reason why a company should be “associated” with the company’s CEO, you can use the same argument to identify as “associated with him” dozens of leading Bulgarian, European and international companies, which, outside their contractual relations with the company, engage in successful business activities throughout Europe and around the world.

With the belief that as a media proclaiming your strong reverence of the truth you would not allow becoming a source and distributor of fake news, we expect you to publish this letter and to stop spreading untrue manipulative allegations and unproven rumors. The opposite would be grounds to question your objectivity and force us to seek protection of our rights in all possible ways.

Sofia, September 14, 2018, Press Service of “LUKOIL-Bulgaria”.

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