New Intriguing Connections Pop Up in Business of Mysterious Bulgarian CEZ Buyer

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Yesterday, the host of the TV show “This Saturday” on bTV, asked former model and Miss Bulgaria, Evgenia Kalkandjieva about the evidence provided by Bivol that she has had a joint company with the husband of Ginka Varbakova who is buying the electric power utility CEZ Bulgaria.

“The company never did any real business; I realized I had it and must close it. Back then, I think it was in 2004 or 2002, my partner from “Visage”, Veni Peeva, who was involved in the training of my models, introduced Slavcho to me… We created the company for one “Miss Bulgaria” pageant for voting by phone. Then I thought the pageant should be decided not by a jury but by a phone vote. They had to take care of the telephony, but it turned out that this voting thing does not work,” she said.

“At that time he was dealing with calls and voting by phone,” is what else she remembered about Slavcho.

Kalkandjieva furthered offered the explanation that when she was a “young businesswoman” she had many businesses and had forgotten about this particular one.

Then the conversation continued as planned, with worldly topics, such as current fashion trends. There was no context provided to the audience, and this context is interesting. Even just a question on who is Veni Peeva, the said “partner” in “Visage”, would have been key.

Bivol dug into the entire company history of “Visage” Ltd., transformed later into “Visage Fashion Agency” and later into a sole-owner company, and found only one partner and she is Mariyana Andreeva Marinova, the sister of the notorious “Marguin Brothers”. There is no information about a partnership of Kalkandjieva with Peeva in “Visage”.


Visage Ltd. was established in 1994 (registered as a company case #22365/94 of the Sofia City Court) and by 1996, the partners in it were Mariyana Marinova and Evgenia Kalkandjieva (entry in State Gazette #103 from Tuesday, December 3, 1996).

During the same year, the “Security Insurance Company (SIC)” of Nikolay Marinov and Krassimir Marinov, AKA “The Marguin Brothers” was established with case #20700/94. Earlier, in 1993, Krassimir Marinov had been a partner in Fortunar Ltd. with the “Godfather” of the Bulgarian mafia, Ivo Karamanski and in 1996 he had become partner in “Intergroup and Partners” Ltd., together with Milcho Borisov Bonev and Dmitri Rusevich “The Russian” Minev, who are no longer among the living.

It is in Intergroup that he ran a joint business with other notorious figures such as Mladen “Madzho” Mihalev and Rumen Gotsov “The Pasha” Nikolov, who at that time was a partner with current Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko “Buddha” Borisov in the company “Teo International”, owner of an illegal cigarette factory in the Black Sea town of Kraymorie. After a raid of the factory by the anti-mafia police, the company was sold to Ivo Kamenov from the powerful group TIM.

Former US Ambassador to Sofia and former intelligence officer, James Pardew, has provided the most precise, albeit brief characterization of the group SIC in a classified cable 05SOFIA1207, titled “Bulgarian Organized Crime,” whose shortened version was first published by The Guardian and subsequently the full one was provided to Bivol by WikiLeaks (see WikiLeaks’ original text here).

  1. (C) INTERGROUP (formerly SIC) KRASIMIR ANDREEV MARINOV (Bulgarian citizen born 6 May 1964, also known as “THE BIG MARGIN”), the group’s current president and another former wrestler, founded SIC (and later INTERGROUP) with MLADEN MIHALEV (Bulgarian citizen born 13 October 1964, also known as “MADJO”), also a former wrestler, and RUMEN GOTZOV NIKOLOV (Bulgarian citizen born 26 May 1962, also known as “THE PASHA”). Nikolov is also connected to the UNION OF FORMER COMMANDOS (see below). The reported mastermind behind the group’s operations is VENTSISLAV DIMITROV STEFANOV (Bulgarian citizen born 28 November 1949). In April 2004, his son, DIMITAR VENTSISLAVOV DIMITROV (Bulgarian citizen born 15 September 1980) was kidnapped and has not been recovered. Intergroup’s illegal activities include narcotics (especially heroin), financial fraud (through its ties with the AMIGOS financial guarantee company), car thefts and trafficking in stolen automobiles, smuggling, extortion and racketeering, and prostitution. The group’s narcotics interests are handled mostly through its connections with IVAN TODOROV (see AMIGOS), who is thought to be one of the largest drug traffickers in the Balkans. KIRIL SOTIROV KIROV (Bulgarian citizen born 10 December 1953, also known as “THE JAPANESE”), known as the Roma drug baron, is connected to INTERGROUP and is also closely connected to IVAN TODOROV (see AMIGOS). Kirov, who is also involved in human trafficking and alien smuggling, barely survived a second assassination attempt in April 2005.

Pardew also mentions “Visage” and Kalkandjieva:

Intergroup’s legal business interests range from sport teams (SLAVIA) to banking (FIRST EAST INTERNATIONAL BANK) and insurance to petroleum and metals trading to construction and real estate (SOFISKI IMOTI) to modeling (VISAGES). Ventsislav is the manager of the Slavia soccer team in Sofia. GEORGI LIALEV also serves on Slavia’s managing board. Lialev’s father, Traian Lialev, is Dean of the Law Faculty of Southwestern University in Blagoevgrad; through Lialev, Rumen Nikolov and Mladen Mihalev received law degrees. Georgi Lialev is also a business partner with RUMEN GAITANSKI (Bulgarian citizen, also known as “THE WOLF”), whose company, WOLF 96, also has connections with Intergroup. The Visages modeling agency was founded in 1994 by EVGENIYA GEORGIEVA KALKANDZHIEVA (Bulgarian citizen born 20 February 1975); she is believed to have close ties to Krasimir Marinov.

All of this, of course, has no place in a lifestyle show with Kalkandjieva as a guest in her capacity of former top Bulgarian beauty and top fashion expert.

Shock, awe, and smoke curtain over the revelations of the SIC connection

Bivol’s report that Kalkandjieva has had a joint business with the husband of the mysterious Ginka, caused “shock and awe” in the media controlled by controversial lawmaker Delyan Peevsky and in some of their opponents, believed to be serious outlets that chose to ignore and skip this information, although Kalkandjieva, herself, later sent to all media a position stating that she did not want her name to be linked to the scandal surrounding the sale of CEZ Bulgaria.

“In connection with publications in the media that involve my name in the scandal with the sale of CEZ, I feel that I must say the following: I never had a joint business with Ginka Varbakova’s husband, Slavcho Varbakov, even though we had a joint company registered in 2004. The company in question did not have any real activity and was closed six years ago, in 2012. Some of the facts reported by the media are true, but they pursue untrue suggestions and manipulative purposes.”

Bivol, however, believes that the report on Slavcho Varbakov’s connection with SIC is of great public interest and that the facts should be carefully examined by all those who are looking for causal links in the “Ginka from Pazardzhik” scandal.

That’s exactly what we did on Friday when we investigated the company history of the Varbakovi family and found the telephone business of Slavcho and Evgenia. Shortly after our publication, Prime Minister Borisov fired from Brussels Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova for her long-term acquaintance with Ginka Varbakova, which, according to Capital daily, was something of the sort of being a bride maid.

Details about the link between Borisov – “The Pasha” – SIC and SIC – CEZ – Ginka’s “Inercom” for now can be found only in Bivol. This link is important because Dimitar “Mitko The Karate Player” Stefanov had managed a company owned by “The Pasha” while sitting for years on the Supervisory Board of CEZ Bulgaria.

The “Karate Player” was removed from the Board only after the first “Borisov” government was forced to resign over mass street protests against electricity prices, and a probe by the Prosecutor’s Office found that under Stefanov’s supervision, hundreds of millions had been syphoned from CEZ Bulgaria, which had affected electricity prices. All these not so distant facts are now a taboo for all media, despite their boisterous disclosure in 2013. The prosecution has not pressed any charges either.

One of the explanations for the taboo over SIC, Borisov, “The Pasha” and “The Karate Player” is insider sources claiming that Borisov, as Prime Minister, had personally imposed Stefanov on the Supervisory Board of the company, while Georgi Petrov Risin, member of CEZ Bulgaria’s Management Board had been his mediator in the negotiations with the top CEZ management.

From Veni Peeva to Vassil “The Skull” Bozhkov

Besides through Kalkandjieva with SIC, a connection of “Inercom” to Bulgarian organized crime, as described by the American Ambassador, is also found through other paid phone calls and gambling companies through Kalkandjieva’s partner Venislava Peeva, who, as Kalkandjieva, herself, said, had helped in the training of her agency’s models.

Venislava Ivanova Peeva, a partner of Kalkandjieva and Varbakov in “MMS Entertainment”, was also a partner in 2004 in “SMS Games” Ltd., together with Boyan Kanchev Milanov, Dimitar Binev Dimitrov and Zlatka Passeva Panayotova.

The company was then managed and represented by Boyan Kanchev Milanov, who had also been the manager of the company “Inercom“, which is now buying the assets of CEZ.

Simultaneously with “SMS Games”, Venislava Peeva held an 18% share in “Global Gaming” Ltd., where she had been a partner with Alexander Tumparov, manager of Vassil “The Skull” Bozhkov‘s gambling business. Bozhkov’s company “Vabo-1” was also a partner there with 35%.


Vabo -1 is owned by Vassil “The Skull” Bozhkov’s Nove Holding 

Peeva also had a partnership with the publisher Martin Batkov in the company “Implosion”, which had not been re-registered under the new Trade Law.

Ginka Varbakova has also helped her husband in the paid phone calls business, the company history shows. There one can find other interesting links to VIPs.

In 2006, the property of “SMS Gaming” had been transferred to the offshore “Korifi Trading” with Slavcho Varbakov as its manager. Korifi Trading had also been a partial owner of “Mobile Info Net” Ltd., where Ginka Varbakova remains partners with lawyer Vladimir Shekerletov, known as defense lawyer in a scandal that shook the Bulgarian judiciary several years ago and husband of then-Bulgarian Ambassador to Austria Elena Shekerletova who still occupies an important post in the government structures.

All this can be easily investigated through public registers and by the National Security Agency (DANS), which Prime Minister Borisov ordered to probe who are Ginka and Slavcho. Moreover, Slavcho Varbakov has already been investigated by DANS’s predecessor, the National Security Services for paid phone calls fraud, according to an investigation by Capital daily in 2009.

Bivol already exposed the dubious credit history of the family, which, after the gambling business, had shifted to construction and photovoltaic parks. It is not clear yet what bank is preparing to credit Ginka’s purchase, which, according to media sources, exceeds EUR 320 million.



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