Thugs Guard Infamous Lawyer from Reporters’ Questions

After more than two and a half years of efforts, a team of Bivol managed to photograph the infamous lawyer Momchil Mondeshki. This happened in Hannover, Germany, at the world’s largest technology fair. Our reporter’s questions surprised the lawyer from the Bulgarian town of Troyan very unpleasantly. We found him at the booth of “Elprom Troyan”. His brother Mladen Mondeshki is the official owner of the factory. Our attempt to interview the famous #YanevaGate lawyer caused threats and aggression on the part of his security guard. The name of the aggressive thug is Georgi Kulekov. After the threats of mutilation against our reporter, the Association of European Journalists issued a statement.

#WHO is Momchil Mondeshki?

Momchil Mondeshki “rose to fame” over his involvement in a series of scandals of high public interest. A few years ago, he emerged in Sofia as a lawyer from the city of Stara Zagora. However, he is not that well known because of his legal work, but as a lobbyist liaison with the Sofia City Court’s leadership in various cases. He made headlines alongside the raider attack on the French company Belvedere to seize it illegally after one of his brother’s companies joined the ownership claims. He is also currently known as one of the most trusted protégés of controversial lawmaker and media mogul Delyan Peevski. Mondeshki plays a key role in allocating the remaining assets of the collapsed private lender Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB or CCB). One of KTB’s bankruptcy assignees, Kristi Marinova, has been the accountant of brothers Mondeshki for many years and is devotedly defending them before the National Revenue Agency (NRA). KTB’s other assignee, Angel Donov, has worked together with Mondeshki for oligarch Nikolay Banev.

Encounters with the justice system

It is a fact that Momchil Mondeshki has two sentences. His first conviction is for document fraud. While the investigation was ongoing, he served time in the detention facility of the National Investigation Services (MIS) and in the prison in the city of Lovech. He reached a deal with the prosecutor’s office in 2005 not to spend any additional time behind bars.

His second conviction is a three-year suspended sentence and probation in 2006 for large-scale embezzlement.
Currently, he is still a licensed lawyer and a member of the Bar Association in Stara Zagora.
Magistrates and retired employees of the Lovech Regional Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime remember Momchil Mondeshki. According to Bivol sources, at one point there had been five pending cases against him. His career began with his contacts with Nikolay “The Chicken” Metodiev, known as the former top smuggler in Bulgaria. Later, Mondeshki became a consultant for the Banev family in the insolvency cases of a number of their businesses, which they had acquired during the mass privatization.

A few months ago, a lawyer close to Mondeshki headed the Deposit Guarantee Fund. The controversial appointment of Attorney Matey Matev virtually closes the circle with the control on KTB’s remaining assets since he works closely with the bankruptcy assignees.

Seychelles affair
In addition, two years ago Momchil Mondeshki was convicted of large-scale tax evasion. He had not paid taxes for the solid income of BGN 900,000, which he justified as inheritance from his grandfather. The latter had received the money from an offshore in Seychelles and had divided it between his grandsons. The Mondeshki brothers attempt to legalize the “grandfather” offshore funds in court has succeeded, however, Mondeshki has failed to calculate the taxes to the NRA. This is what led to his conviction of tax evasion. Mondeshki’s attempts to appeal the findings of the NRA have crashed as they have been confirmed by all court instances.

Tax evasion – a family tradition for Mondeshki

Momchil Mondeshki’s brother Mladen has also been sanctioned by the NRA in the city of Veliko Tarnovo for tax evasion. In the case of the younger brother, all court instances have also confirmed the sanction. Meanwhile, Mladen Mondeshki received an award from the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, personally presented to him by the German Ambassador in Sofia Herbert Salber, probably unsuspecting to whom exactly he had given it.
For the time being, none of the law enforcement bodies in Bulgaria have done a thing to check Mondeshki’s offshore inheritance, raising suspicions of government cover-up for the brothers.

Yaneva’s boy

Lawyer Mondeshki actually became known to the public alongside the YanevaGate affair in 2015. The scandal broke out after a leaked recording of a conversation between the then-President of the Sofia City Court, Vladimir Yaneva, Judge Rumyana Chenalova, and lawyer Momchil Mondeshki was made public by Bivol. In the recording, Yaneva explains to Chenalova that Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has ordered the Prosecutor General to “finish” her. At that time, Momchil Mondeshki enjoyed the fame of being the “key to the door” of the Sofia City Court because of his close relationship with Yaneva. Today, she is convicted.

How to become a big industrialist in a few years?

The grandfather’s money from the offshore was not enough. One of the best factories in Bulgaria – “Elma” in Troyan – making electric motors, previously owned by Nikolay Banev, became Mondeshki’s possession, when the younger brother, Mladen, took it from Banev after a tender organized by a court assignee. Although the assignee, Rosen Miloshev, had included the machines in the insolvency estate, they had remained undescribed for a long time, though his duties require it. This is not the first acquisition of Mondeshki in this area. Five years ago, the brother also bought the assets of the Hemus furniture factory. Therefore, from a common real estate broker, Mladen Mondeshki turned into a large private industrialist in just a few years. Because of that, we crossed paths with his brother at the Hannover Technology Fair this year.

For the Supreme Bar Council “everything is right”

The NRA audit, the court rules and Banev’ claims clearly show that Momchil Mondeshki never held a regular full-time job, therefore he could not have accumulated the necessary years of service in the legal sector in order to be licensed as a lawyer in Stara Zagora. In front of the local Bar Association, Mondeshki has claimed to have been a legal advisor at the Kazanlak Thermal Power Plant, but Banev says there was no such position there. The Legislative Reform Initiative Committee and attorney Nikolay Hadjigenov each had filed separate complaints about how Momchil Mondeshki had become a member of the Bar. Attorney Hadjigenov is still convinced that “Mondeshki’s place is in jail, not in the Bar”.

The legal guild has further alarmed the Supreme Bar Council that Mondeshki has undermined the prestige of the profession by participating in the Yaneva Gate scandal and by the interview he gave to Trud daily where he claimed that the recordings of his conversation with judges Vladimira Yaneva and Rumyana Chenalova had been deliberately manipulated to be used against powerful people. Two expert examinations from most respected international labs proved that the #Yaneva Gate recordings had not been manipulated and had been made with special surveillance devices.

When we asked Mondeshki if there were more recordings to blackmail powerful people, he started repeating the talking points of Peevski’s media. Apparently frightened by our search for the truth, the lawyer fled and refused to comment on his relationship with Peevski.

The Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Bar Council Atanas Stoyanov declined to comment on the Council’s decision to grant Mondeshki a license.

According to Svetlozar Nikolov, a lawyer from the Black Sea city of Varna, the proceedings have been deliberately delayed in order to stall the process.

Nikolay Hadjigenov is firm that Mondeshki has presented a false document before the Stara Zagora Bar to verify his relevant legal experience because he had an audit act for that period, showing that he had not been employed at that time.

However, according to Atanas Stoyanov, no one has disputed these documents in any way.
“They exist and they are official certifying documents.”

When we asked Stoyanov would Mondeshki be investigated further if they receive an additional complaint against the lawyer, he was certain that the Bar would not.

“There are authorities to investigate this, and this is not the Bar.”

According to Nikolay Hadjigenov, such behavior of the Supreme Bar Council is very dangerous for the guild. He underlined that even the law in effect does not say that the moral and ethical qualities of a candidate must be judged.

“In Bulgaria, the Bar is a landfill, that is, anyone who falls out of magistrate office for being corrupt becomes a lawyer… The lawyer profession is a freelance one and I am opposed to a large part to the hurdles imposed on the Bar, but it is unacceptable for people who are proven to be immoral and unethical to become lawyers. What can you expect in this situation then?”

While Mondeshki enjoys his privileges, many lawyers say they are being constantly sanctioned because they are inconvenient to the Bar leadership locally and because they reveal irregularities and irregularities abound. It is not clear currently whether Mondeshki is “a match” for the leadership of the Bar or whether the Bar is “a match” for the corrupt government in Bulgaria.


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