Document of the Labor Bureau in Paris evidencing payment of unemployment benefits to Ivan Danov

The draining of the French bank account of Minister Ivan Danov, loudly boasted yesterday at a press briefing, in reality is connected with a magazine subscription offered by BNP-Paribas at promotional price in a package with his gold Visa card. About 30 euros a month have been automatically withdrawn for several months from Danov’s account. However, the Bank is at fault because it should not have continued to service the account and to issue payment instruments as Danov had not legally resided and / or received income in France during that period. Therefore, the money withdrawn to cover the subscription has been restored, Bivol learned from sources close to the investigation.

Danov did not track transactions in this account until Bivol exposed him in improperly receiving nearly 15000 euros from the French social services from September 2004 to May 2005. As Bivol’s investigation revealed, in the course of eight months, Danov had been signing false declarations of unemployment and of seeking jobs in France, while, at the same time, he worked and developed business in Bulgaria. In order to receive welfare, Danov committed document fraud, an offense that is punishable in Bulgaria.

The press briefing, convened by Ivan Danov in the headquarters of his ministry, was attended by retired French policemen from private consulting firm CIVIPOL, whom Danov introduced to media as representatives of the French State, which they are not.

Their words made clear that Danov was not under investigation in France for illegally receiving unemployment benefits, but there was a probe in the „draining“ of his bank account. It is not clear how they have such information as the only competent authorities in the matter are the Labor Bureau (Pôle Emploi) and the French Prosecutor’s Office.

The French Penal Code qualifies document fraud as crime punishable by five years in prison and a fine of 37500 euros. Since the 5-year legal prescription has passed, Danov cannot be indicted in France. French employment services, however, may file a civil suit against Ivan Danov to recover the money. The prescription for this is 10 years. The Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office can prosecute Danov as well – for document fraud; the prescription in Bulgaria is 10 years and it had not yet expired.

Bivol approached for comment the French Embassy in Sofia with questions on whose behalf spoke the retired policemen; do they represent French authorities and why the French justice system applied double standards by not investigating Danov’s alleged crimes against the French social system. In the absence of the Ambassador, the Chargé d’Affaires, Dr. Florence Levy declined to comment on these issues.

We also tried to get in touch with the head of CIVIPOL Gerard Zerbi, who did not respond to our request to contact us by the time of the editorial closing of this article.

Bivol’s Comment: Minister on a Leash

„You are facing two crooks. The couple acted jointly. They drained the French social system. Because of the behavior of people like them others have nothing to eat!“, French prosecutor Cecile Gensac pleaded in the courtroom, accusing spouses Bernadette and Patrick (their last names are not cited in the article about the case in Le Parisien – editor’s note) of having received welfare in the amount of 28912.65 euros all while having jobs which they had not declared.

Before announcing the verdict, the presiding judge François-Marie Giacomoni waved the declaration the couple signed, asserting they were unemployed. The prosecutor became even more severe: „The penalty for this is five years in prison and a 37500 euros fine. It has been proven that they are dishonest. Moreover, Patrick teaches children. What does he teach? Lies and tricks?“

The couple was sentenced to five and eight-month suspended imprisonment, and were mandated to reimburse the unlawfully received 28912.65 euros.

What does French justice teach us in the case of Ivan Danov, which is completely identical? It teaches us that there are state and economic interests that are above the law and the rule of law.

We have reasonable doubt to assume that the reason stems from the “pharaoh” by its scale construction project in Bulgaria’s Rila Mountain, planned by powerful French companies, which requires the signature of the Minister of Investment Planning.

The silence of the French Embassy, of the French Labor Bureau, of the French Prosecutor’s Office, and the appearance of lobbyists from CIVIPOL in Sofia, perfectly fit in this scenario –they have a minister on a leash, why lose him?

And „F..k“ the French justice, if we can paraphrase a secretly wiretapped American diplomat.


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