Private Lender’s Majority Shareholder in Joint Deal with Criminal Gang

"The Universals" gang has been draining First Investment Bank (FIB), but the prosecution crushed the investigation?
Екип на Биволъ

Mila Georgieva, the female boss of a gang dealing with murder, arson and illegal drugs trafficking, has paid to one of the owners of FIB, Ivaylo Mutafchiev, 359,873 levs for an apartment of 157 square meters and a garage in a luxury building in Sofia’s Iztok (East) district, documents in the Property Registry reveal. A year later, she donated the apartment of her son Mihail, who is also charged with crimes, but is in the hiding.

The property was bought with a mortgage loan from FIB in the same amount, and the mortgage has been deleted on January 27, 2015, a week after charges were pressed against Georgieva and her son.


According to prosecutors, the illegal activities of the gang lasted from 2012 until its bust.

Mutafchiev made himself quite a bargain. He bought two identical apartments in the condominium from Elana Holding in 2006 for 272,840 levs total, or 136 thousand levs per apartment. A year later, he sold one of the apartments to Mila Georgieva for a price 2.5 times higher, and in addition, this transaction has been financed with a loan from his own bank, which pocketed the interest.

Murder, arson, drugs, VAT and bank draining

Mila Georgieva is also known to law enforcement from the special operation “The Universals” in VAT fraud in large amounts. In 2014, the stepdaughter of former Customs Chief Hristo Kulishev was charged together with Ivan Georgiev Tanev AKA The Universal, son of former Agriculture Minister, Georgi Tanev. She was arrested at the Belgrade airport and extradited to Bulgaria where she was indicted for crimes against the tax system. Georgieva was later released and Ivan Tanev disappeared.

(No) random deal?

From all of the above, it emerges that a mortgage from FIB was repaid with the proceeds from crimes committed by Mila Georgieva and this money was pocketed by the majority shareholder in the Bank.

However, the relations of FIB with the circle of “The Universals” are not limited to that property transaction between Mutafchiev and Georgieva, as the latter could simply be a coincidence.

An investigation of the site Mediapool revealed that the prosecution has crushed legal proceedings against the Bank for mismanagement in the granting of loans in the total amount of 46,627,763 euro to dummy companies. The guarantor for the loan was Ivan Tanev, known by his nickname “The Universal”, who is wanted by Interpol with a red notice. The contract also includes the name of the former activist of the Movement Bulgaria of Citizens, Georgi Tsankov, who became famous for the supply of beans with worms and sugar to the poor at prices twice higher than the market ones.

Из договор за банков кредит 000LD-L-000325/21.04.2012

Из договор за банков кредит 000LD-L-000325/21.04.2012

A report of the central bank (Bulgarian National Bank, BNB) in the case, cited by Mediapool, has concluded that Ivan Tanev “was a person of privilege for the Bank, benefiting from its confidence, resulting in impaired consistency throughout the entire lending process, regulated by the internal rules of lending “. This essentially means draining of huge sums from the Bank.

The case was taken over by the Special Public Prosecutor where the supervising prosecutor deemed that the evidence in the case with the two loans with promissory note guarantor Ivan Tanev should be separated in another proceeding – for a “particularly severe case of mismanagement in large amounts”. The penalty for such an offense is imprisonment from one to ten years, and responsibility should be sought from the executives of FIB.

The case was sent to the jurisdiction of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, where a U-turn occurred. The mismanagement proceeding was crushed and a news case under Article 248 of the Penal Code was launched – “whoever submits false information in order to obtain alleviated lending terms shall be punished by imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of 1,000 to 3,000 levs”. Under this text, only the borrowers and the guarantor are responsible, but not the bankers.

“The Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office virtually ignored the BNB report and the opinion of their colleague from the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office for a “particularly severe case of mismanagement in large amounts”, where responsibility was to be sought from executives of the Bank, and the sentence would be of a completely different character – imprisonment of one to ten years and stripping them from the right to occupy State and public office and of practicing a particular profession or activity,” Mediapool writes.

However, the investigation of “The Universals”, in which the State Agency for National Security (DANS) also participated, included further evidence for even more serious charges such as laundering money from the criminal activities of the gang through FIB’s Greek accounts, Bivol learned. This evidence has been completely ignored by the State prosecution.

FIB’s affair with the gang of “The Universals” categorically confirmed some conclusions from a diplomatic cable from 2006, sent to the US State Department. Then former US Ambassador in Sofia, John Beyrle, wrote that FIB is a “bad apple” and “is now considered to have one foot in the legitimate retail world (it is known as one of the most aggressive and “polished” banks) as well as one in the murkier criminal realm”. The fact is that one can hardly find a murkier criminal realm than this gang dealing with murder, arson and illegal drugs trafficking.



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