The manager of the PR firm ORM.BG Kalin Vasilev, specializing in online reputation management, especially that of First Investment Bank (FIB), has filed a complaint to YouTube against a video of Bivol. The video explains the draining of FIB by its owners through shell companies and offshore companies. The video (in Bulgarian) can still be seen here, and if it is removed, we will then think where and how to upload it.
The complaint is formally grounded on the use of the name and the logotype of the Bank without permission. This, of course, is not good, but on the other hand, had we asked, they would hardly allow us to use them. We decided that it is in the public interest to call things by their names and images.
“On the other hand, the real reason for the request to remove the video is that the content wants to cause the destabilization of the banking system,” explains Kalin Vasilev, who has prophesied in the video a large-scale “hellish plan”.
Vasilev, who presents himself as a legal adviser of FIB, but has provided his personal Google email, is referring to an EU directive which prohibits “the dissemination of such information”. The number of the directive, however, is not specified.
YouTube apparently did not pay attention to the terrible menace to “destabilize the banking system”, but they could have removed the video within 48 hours because of the use of the logo of the Bank without permission.
Regarding the content of the video, we insist that it only refers to the actions of the Bank’s owners and majority shareholders Tseko Minev and Ivaylo Mutafchiev. In several investigations, Bivol demonstrated with documents that unsecured loans are handed out and that they are padding the accounts of offshore companies which are connected to the two owners. If we are aiming at something in connection to the banking system, it is to stabilize it by helping to clear it from destabilizing bankers. So far the prosecution and the central bank (Bulgarian National Bank, BNB) have failed to respond to the findings that you can see here, here and here.
Who Is Taking Care of the Online reputation of FIB?
It is well known that any publication on First Investment Bank is accompanied by a troll invasion in forums and social networks, “sprinkling” “talking points”. If the news is bad, then an attack is launched against the messengers as well. These specific activities are usually assigned to external companies specializing in online reputation management. The company of Kalin Vasilev, ORM.BG (formerly Info Group Plovdiv), deals exactly with such activities.
Although we have no direct evidence of trolls working precisely for this company, its Chief’s complaint to YouTube is an important indicator. Furthermore, we understand from Kalin Vasilev’s blog that he has been engaged in professionally polishing the image of FIB since 2008 (see here and here). To create a semblance of credibility, he even releases publications critical to the Bank, but with a happy ending for his client (see here and here). Quite clearly, the man used to work hard as a troll, and now manages an entire company. But then and now, what is happening with FIB remains his main subject.
Coincidence? We don’t think so!
This post is also available in: Bulgarian