After a publication of our colleague, journalist Svetoslav Terziev, in Sega (Now) daily, banker Tsvetan Vasilev asked the European Commission to officially repudiate claims he is linked with lending loans to media of notorious mogul Delyan Peevski. That Delyan Peevski owns a large number of media has become clear from his own words. Formally, this media empire is registered in the name of Peevski’s mother – Irena Krasteva.
Before reacting officially, the European Commission may consider requesting information from the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office, which could prove that the purchase of these media has been financed by Vasilev’s Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB). The prosecution denied providing this information to Bivol, despite our explicit request.
In 2009, on the initiative of MP Mitko Dimitrov (from the extremist nationalist party Ataka), the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Agency for National Security (DANS) launched a probe in media dealings of Irena Krasteva, mother of infamous MP Delyan Peevski (from the party of the Turkish minority – Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS). Krasteva, a former boss of the state lottery, bought in 2007-2008 the newspapers Monitor, Telegraph, and Politics, and participated in the transfer of ownership of TV7. The findings of the prosecution’s probe have been reported at a meeting of the parliamentary anti-corruption committee on May 21, 2009
Quote from the transcript:
„We are moving on to the second item on the agenda:
CURRENT ISSUES AND CURRENT PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL
Perhaps, colleagues, within the current issues, I should submit some findings.
Colleagues, there are several findings, which in my opinion are of public interest.
One is the response to the tipoff of MP Mitko Dimitrov connected to the origin of capital that has been used to buy several newspapers – the so-called „Media Pool.“ The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation has conducted a probe in the case. The conclusion of the prosecution is that it did not establish any violations in the ownership and in the manner in which it was acquired.
So, colleagues, based on what we have received from the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation, our proposal is to terminate the case.
There are more details; I am not presenting the full report, of course.“
On this day, Mitko Dimitrov did not attend the meeting, as he has been campaigning in Veliko Tarnovo. This is what he, himself, explained before Bivol. Dimitrov has not even seen the file, because the leader of his party Ataka, Volen Siderov, had taken it away.
„I provided to Volen Siderov, at his request, all correspondence in the case and the report! … And I don’t know what it was used for and where it is now located. All this happened at the end of May 2009,“ said Dimitrov.
A copy of the file is not found in the archives of the parliamentary anti-corruption committee.
Bivol was unsuccessful in the attempt to obtain, by the prosecution itself, details of the investigation in the origin of Irena Krasteva’s funds. Our inquiry to the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation was transferred to Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office; from it we got a laconic reply that there were no pre-trial proceedings and additional information will not be provided.
According to an article, published on the site Mediapool in 2009, the prosecution’s file included findings that media acquisitions of Irena Krasteva have been financed with a loan from KTB. An investigation of Bivol revealed that the owner of KTB, Tsvetan Vasilev, for several months was co-owner of New Bulgarian Media Group, and subsequently, his shares were purchased by Krasteva.
Before media, Tsvetan Vasilev insists that he never invested in these newspapers and that he has no relation whatsoever with the currently-existing media and press distribution monopoly, imposed by the tandem Peevski – Krasteva.
In a diplomatic cable, focusing on Bulgarian banks, prepared in 2006 by former USA ambassador in Sofia, John Beyrle, KTB is listed as one of the banks “bad apples” that practice “money laundering by Bulgarian and foreign criminals and connected lending.”
In addition to KTB, the ambassador has listed FIB, INVESTBANK and Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB). The banks “bad apples” issue is one of the taboo subjects in Bulgarian media, according to a study, conducted by the „Friedrich Naumann“ Foundation.