A probe of the prosecution into the credit cards with unrealistically high limits, declared by the Head of Bulgaria’s FSC, Stoyan Mavrodiev, ended without pre-trial proceedings because no evidence of abuse of office was established. At the same time, the prosecutors found evidence of another crime committed by Mavrodiev – false declarations to a credit institution, whose statute of limitations is, however, expired. The crime is under Article 248a of the Penal Code, in the chapter “Crimes against the Monetary and Credit system”. The prosecution has completely ignored the fact that Mavrodiev has prepared a document containing false information and for that the statute of limitations has not expired.
In 2015, Bivol published information that Stojan Mavrodiev has credit cards with limits of 60,000 euro and 40,000 Bulgarian levs that could not be granted against his income as Head of the Financial Supervision Commission. Mavrodiev publically denied this information, but documents from the National Court of Auditors disproved him. When Mavrodiev threatened to sue our site, the editor-in-chief, Atanas Tchobanov, referred the evidence to the prosecution because of suspicions that the financial supervisor has used his office for personal benefits.
The order to close the case is dated June 27, 2016, and is signed by prosecutor S. Encheva. Curiously, Tchobanov’s tipoff was allocated to the special “Anti-corruption” unit of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office. Until then, there was very little information on the work of this unit, created by Prosecutor General, Sotir Tsatsarov.
Prosecutor El. Popova has examined the history of Mavrodiev’s credit cards and has found that they were issued by UniCredit Bulbank in 2008, before Mavrodiev became lawmaker from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB) and later – Head of the Financial Supervision Commission. Obviously, Mavrodiev received the cards in his capacity as manager of the private company “Properties Investments” Ltd. Subsequently, the cards were renewed twice at the initiative of the bank in 2010 and 2013. By that time Mavrodiev was already Head of the FSC, but the cards’ limits remained the same.
Mavrodiev declared these VISA PLATINIUM credit cards only in 2013. In his declaration, he has recorded two cards with limits of 60 000 euro and 40 000 levs. Subsequently, however, Mavrodiev filed a corrective statement that the first card had a limit of 60,000 levs, not euro, because of a “technical error”. The Head of the FSC explained that he failed to declare the cards upon taking office, because he had not yet used them. There is a quoted opinion of the National Court of Auditors that under the Prevention and Disclosure of Conflict of Interest Act, it is standard not to declare credit cards if less than 5,000 levs have been spent.
Mavrodiev received preferential terms due to a lie
The future supervisor of the financial system, however, stretched the truth in order to obtain the cards in 2008 and to receive a preferential interest rate for the card with a limit of 60,000 levs. The prosecutors found that one September 29, 2008, he declared to the Bank that he was the manager of “Properties Investments” Ltd. However, the company had another manager. Mavrodiev was the sole shareholder in the same company at its launch in 2003, but subsequently the ownership was transferred to the “Natwest Ventures” LLC.
Thus, Mavrodiev committed a crime under Article 248a, Paragraph 1 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes presenting false information to obtain favorable credit terms. This crime is punishable by up to one year of jail time and a fine of 1,000 to 3,000 levs, but the statute of limitations is three years and has already expired.
The prosecutors, however, did not mention another text in the Penal Code – creating a private document with false content. Under Article 309 Paragraph 2, this crime is punishable by up to three years in prison. It is also possible to consider Article 212 of the Penal Code for creating a false document in order to acquire someone else’s property (the preferential interest rate). The latter is punishable by up to eight years in prison and the statute of limitations has not expired.
Ignoring these texts by the special unit “Anti-corruption” can be interpreted as a cover-up for the Head of the FSC, who was not removed even after the glaring scandals in which he was involved, including proof that he had registered the offshore companies used by Bulgarian kingpin Evelyn “Brendo” Banev to launder money from cocaine trafficking. So, Tsatsarov’s special unit discredited itself with its very first visible result.
It is also quite possible that Mavrodiev was and still is the real owner of “Natwest Ventures” LLC, registered in the United States, which owns “Properties Investments” Ltd and whose managers are just dummies. This hypothesis has never been investigated by prosecutors.
What about other undeclared loans?
The prosecution’s order also mentions that UniCredit Bulbank has reissued Mavrodiev’s credit cards with the same limits as he had perfect record in paying back his “obligations under the contract, as well as other such existing loans”. The first renewal of his card, with a limit of 60,000 levs, was in November 2010, while Mavrodiev became an MP in 2009 and was mandated under the law to declare all his loans. However, there is nothing written in his declaration about credit cards from Unicredit Bulbank, only about a mortgage from Piraeus Bank.
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