Gebrev and Noev use military intelligence for personal benefit
Indicted oligarchs’ media outlets campaign to preserve their influence on Military Information agencyMonitor News Agency , Sofia
The fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev’s pawns – indicted arms dealer Emiliyan Gebrev and pseudo-diplomat Boyko Noev – have used the resources of the agency Military Information (MI) for personal benefit. Thanks to pressure exerted by Vassilev, who is indicted for the engineered failure of CorpBank and is hiding in Serbia, the two businessmen made use of all MI resources. That included both the agency’s access to highly classified NATO information and using its intelligence officers as brokers in arms deals. These are all “NATO services” invaluable to Vassilev and company, who have serious Russian ties.
Additionally, the organised crime group of the fugitive banker literally turned the intelligence agency into a private one, tasked with carrying out transport services for Vassilev and his cohort. As early as July this year, it emerged that a military intelligence operative was sent to a partner EU country to be a driver for a famous businessman and feed him information. As Vassilev has been hiding from the Bulgarian judicial system in Serbia for years, Gebrev and Noev were the only ones able to use the MI services of late.
Also in July, it was revealed that the order for the operative to serve the aforementioned businessman came directly from the head of the agency. He instructed his subordinate to “brief the businessman, i.e. to apprise him of issues concerning his business interests and … be his taxi driver for several days”.
The revelations about abuse of power committed in favour of the oligarchs were made in relation to the investigation into the now former director of MI in the Ministry of Defence – Gen. Plamen Angelov – and his successor, Gen. Svetoslav Daskalov.
The two generals have been charged with issuing approvals for the highest-level access to NATO and EU classified information in violation of the law. This latest evidence of wrongdoing was uncovered as part of the probe into the former and incumbent MI heads, who are being brought to justice for authorising their employees to grant access to classified information. Noev and Gebrev are among the high-ranking behind-the-scenes players batting for the team of the indicted oligarchs Tsvetan Vassilev, Ivo Prokopiev and Ognyan Donev and the natural gas tycoon Sasho Donchev.
But how was such a breach in a state security service made possible? Two months ago, it was revealed that MI had been captured by the behind-the-scenes dependencies of the oligarchs in the Capital circle. Mediapool articles brought more light to the question how exactly the oligarchs used the agency – as a source of brokerage services for arms deals. In two consecutive pieces, the website tried to pin the wrongdoings in the agency to the sworn enemy of the shadowy players in the country – lawmaker of the opposition party MRF and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski – in order to cover up what was truly happening in the MI. That effort actually revealed what was really bothering the group of oligarchs – clearly, they used MI employees as brokers in arms deals abroad, and now that the Prosecutor’s Office is inspecting the agency, their access to that resource has been cut off. This is why the oligarchs conducted a textbook KGB operation. The purpose of the attack was to envelop the revelations about wrongdoings in the agency in a thick mist of disinformation and so hide the truth. And the truth is that the MI has been operating as a state within the state for decades now under the control of Prokopiev’s Capital circle and Tsvetan Vassilev.
Under the conduction of their mentor, former PM Ivan Kostov, the indicted oligarchs have been using the agency for their personal benefit for years, running it through figureheads like Boyko Noev, who is now working entirely in service of Tsvetan Vassilev, and Rumyana Bachvarova, who has been playing the role of a political mole for the Capital circle in the government ever since GERB came to power. Through those pawns, the oligarchs have been getting access to valuable secrets – gathered not only by the Bulgarian intelligence officers but by those of their partner agencies in NATO and the EU too – secrets that they could then use for extortion and smearing campaigns against their opponents in the country and overseas.
There are two main reasons why the military intelligence is important to Kostov and his oligarchs. First, it is one of the few state agencies whose bosses have the power to request surveillance with special intelligence means. Second, and far more importantly, it handles information from Bulgaria’s NATO and EU partners’ agencies. Put in simple terms, whoever controls the MI has access to the secrets of not only the Bulgarian military intelligence but to those of NATO and EU members as well. As you can imagine, the huge volume of invaluable intelligence gathered by the agency would be of great interest to countries outside of NATO – like Russia, which has been trying for years to use its pawns in Bulgaria to get ahold of NATO secrets.
The most recent manifestation of these publicly exposed appetites of Moscow was Dunarit armory, which fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev and his Russian patron, the Kremlin’s pet oligarch Konstantin Malofeev have attempted to plunder for a second time twice. However, ultimately it was Emilian Gebrev who gained control over the defence plant. To the Kremlin this enterprise is priceless because it executes orders by NATO standards and consequently avails of the whole body of information about the standards which ammunitions of the Alliance have to meet. Besides, it avails of the data concerning various orders executed not only in Bulgaria but also in the other member states
The fugitive banker sustained a whole cohort of people with CorpBank money
Fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev for years on end has been keeping a whole cohort of pawns, media outlets and spokespersons headed by Boyko Noev with the money of the defrauded CorpBank depositors. Noev himself, for instance, till 2014 was employed at Bromac, the key company owned by Vassilev through which he was a shareholder in the collapsed bank. Thus, the name of Noev surfaced in the printouts from the visitors’ book where all those who paid visits to Vassilev were registered. From August 2103 to March 2014 Noev had 16 meetings with Vassilev.
CorpBank was a feedbox for Mediapool website, too. To this day Vassilev is using this site as a battering ram against his sworn enemy Delyan Peevski. The money was not flowing directly from the bank but passed through Ivan Kostov, aka Commander, the guru of oligarchs in Bulgaria. According to the CorpBank documentation, the Commander and his family received generous tranches from the bank and companies related to Tsvetan Vassilev.
Demokratsia Foundation of Kostov’s spouse Elena has even used for free offices in the CorpBank building located in the Garibaldi Square in Sofia. This is exactly why now Mediapool launches vehement attacks against Peevski whose legislative initiatives and media inquiries spoilt the patience game of its beneficiaries, the oligarchs.
The names of Kostov, Noev and arms dealer Gebrev are interrelated owing to yet another scandalous deal. In August of 2001, it transpired that the trio purchased a closed down military base between Akhtopol and Sinemorets. It occupied the area of 5 ha and was located near a bay. In the municipality there are no documents concerning this land’s owner, but there is a decision of the municipal council by forth of which it asks the Council of Ministers to transfer to the municipality the vacant lands. However, in the town’s hall of Tsarevo they have no information as to whether and when the Kostov’s cabinet or the ministry of Noev transferred the estate. In 2002, the estate became property of EMKO and in 2017 the company “sold” it to the owner for BGN 867,000.
Arms boss – via Poland to Russia
The Russian trace and the shadow of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) transpire from the money which Vassilev’s associate Emilian Gebrev paid for getting hold of Dunarit. For over two years now, the arms dealer is trying to be registered as the owner of the defence plant worth about BGN 300m employing a series of schemes devised by the fugitive banker for whom he is working. However, so far the only sum he paid for the plant is ridiculously low – BGN 12,4m, which makes only 4% of Dunarit’s market value. At that, it was paid to another associate of Vassilev, Ivan Ezerski, instead of the bankrupt CorpBank which provided BGN 200m in loans to Dunarit’s economic group. The money paid by Gebrev pro forma came from a bank loan he drew. However, within several weeks it was almost paid off from a bank account in Poland. The sum’s origin is unclear to the investigators, but there are suspicions that the money on this account are from the partnership of EMKO with RSK MiG and Polish company with joint property Polit Elektronik, showed the inquire of Monitor Agency some time ago.
It is curious that exactly at the time when the money was restored the contract with Poland was terminated, according to which EMKO was a counteractant along with the firm that was an official representative in Poland of the Russian concern RSK MiG – Polit Elektronik. The contract was concluded in 2014 and was related to the delivery to the Polish defence ministry of 17,000 unguided missiles with S-5 warheads manufactured in Bulgaria after Soviet model of 1955. The cost amounted to PLZ 114m or about BGN 55m (€ 26.6m). This contract caused a real storm in the political life of Poland.
There are several reasons to that. According to the Polish media, these missiles are rather obsolete weaponry used mostly by the insurgents in Libya, Syria and African countries. The second reason is that Polit Elektronik itself has a scandalous reputation in Poland. This very company is responsible for the repair of government aircraft Tu-154 which crashed near Smolensk on 10 May, 2010. All 90 passengers on board, among them President Lech Kaczynski, perished. And, last but not least, in 2013, a year before the contract was signed, in a reply to an MP of the Polish parliament, Waldemar Skrzypczak, deputy state secretary in the Polish Ministry of Defence, announced that Polit Elektronik became an “official member of the Russian aircraft corporation RSK MiG and for this reason it is not possible to eliminate this firm as an intermediary in another deal, namely for certified repair of RD-33 engines of Polish MiG-29 aircraft.”