Gebrev tangles up in his own Dunarit lies

He claims to have joined the military plant sweepstakes in February 2015, when actually Louvrier was the one to enter the company at that time

Emiliyan Gebrev

Emiliyan Gebrev, an arms dealer and associate of the fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev, got tangled up in his own lies in yet another interview for bTV. Gebrev, who is on his way to oversaturating the channel’s programming with his second appearance on a bTV show in just a week, gave a long statement whose purpose was to reiterate the manipulation that his attempted poisoning was connected to Dunarit. However, he only managed to sink deeper into the quagmire of manipulations spread by the crime duo of him and Vassilev.

The latest appearance of the arms dealer on the obviously convenient for him and void of uncomfortable questions channel was in response to a press release made by the Prosecutor’s Office at the end of last week, which clearly notes that there was no relation between the assassination attempt on Gebrev and Dunarit. As evidence the legal institution pointed out that during the time of the attempted murder (he was rushed to hospital on 28 April 2015 – editor’s note) “Emiliyan Gebrev did not take steps towards acquiring Dunarit, which makes any assertions to the contrary and citing such steps as reason for the attempted assassination groundless”. The prosecutors also stress that every single deal EMKO struck between 2014 and 2015 was inspected as part of the investigation. One of the hypothesis on which the authorities were working was that the crime, behind which, according to reports by the foreign investigative websites Bellingcat and Insider, stood a special unit of the Russian military intelligence GRU that has also been tied to the poisoning of Skripal, was related to arms exports to Ukraine. The deal was carried out between December 2014 and March 2015.

In his latest interview, Gebrev practically confirmed the deal but tried to minimise it by saying that it accounted for just “a tenth of the exports” of his company EMKO. At the same time, however, upon Gebrev’s hospitalisation, the entire deffence industry was all abuzz that the deal might be the reason for the assassination attempt against him – a theory that the arms dealer is desperately trying to downplay and controvert because it goes against his interests, his and those of Tsvetan Vassilev. Instead, the duo is trying to plant the contrived connection between Dunarit and the arms dealer’s poisoning into the public consciousness. The goal is to pressure the state and draw attention away from the fact that Gebrev has illegally been in control of the military plant funded with millions of levs from CorpBank for over two tears and draining the company, which takes NATO orders and therefore provides Tsvetan Vassilev and his Russian mentor, oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, with access to confidential information.

Once again Gebrev told bTV that he had been “invited to participate in the stabilisation and acquisition of Dunarit” back in 2015. He even specified the month – February. But what are the real facts? They run against both the documentation filed with the Commercial Register by the military plant and the actions of Gebrev in 2015. To start with, in that year the arms dealer really did have aspirations towards a military plant but it was not Dunarit, rather it was the Scientific Research Technological Institute (NITI), and even filed the paperwork to acquire it but ultimately failed to do so. It was not until then, early 2016, that Gebrev joined the schemes engineered to steal Dunarit. Meanwhile, in February 2015 there really were changes to the management of the military plant, but they had nothing to do with Gebrev. On 25 February 2015 Belgian with Moscow passport Pierre Louvrier (a pawn of Konstantin Malofeev and Tsvetan Vassilev) was registered as the managing director of Kemira, the sole owner of Dunarit. Louvrier remained at that positon until May 2015. Following the failure of the “€1 gang”, as the Belgian’s investment group became known in Bulgaria, in late 2015, another of Malofeev’s strawmen, Russian Dmitry Kosarev, entered the picture. It was not until that attempt to steal the company failed miserably that Gebrev stepped onto the stage.

The military plant at the centre of spy scandal too

Dunarit also found itself at the centre of the spy scandal of September this year, which resulted in the indictment of Nikolay Malinov, former Bulgarian Socialist Party lawmaker and current head of the National Movement “Russophiles”. He was charged with committing crime against the state as the mouthpiece of a plan whose end goal was to steer the geopolitical allegiances of the country from pro-western to pro-Russian. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the masterminds behind the plan were Tsvetan Vassilev’s patron, pro-Kremlin oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, and GRU general Leonid Reshetnikov. To help fund the plan, Vassilev transferred to Malofeev BGN 1bn worth of assets, which were not even his to give as they had been financed by CorpBank. Dunarit was among those.

Three unsuccessful tries to register as the owner

Emiliyan Gebrev has tried three schemes to get registered by the Commercial Register as the plant’s owner. All three failed because the shares in Dunarit were distrained as a result of a claim filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission for Illegal Assets Forfeiture (ACCIAF). Even so, the arms dealer, acting in partnership with Tsvetan Vassilev, has illegally had control over the company for over two years thanks to an obliging panel of judges at the Regional Court of Rousse, which installed a Managing Board that was going to serve the crime duo’s interests. Thanks to it, Gebev is syphoning off Dunarit and feeding Vassilev fresh cash, with some of the money going to his Russian mentor Konstantin Malofeev, according to investigators. Because of the schemes deployed by the duo, Gebrev was charged with heading an organised crime group operating in money laundering.

The market value of the plant has been estimated between BGN 210m and BGN 280m. It has received BGN 96m in loans from CorpBank, which means it should be part of the bankruptcy estate of the collapsed lender. At the same time Gebrev and Vassilev have been attempting to steal it under the nose of the state. First they tried a scheme involving capital increase of Dunarit’s parent company, Kemira. Once that failed, they tested another trick – a €10m loan agreement signed in June 2016 between the then executive director of the plant Krastyo Krastev and Gebrev’s company EMKO. The sum was lower than Dunarit’s net profit at the time and there is no evidence that it was even transferred. Yet, the loan was presented as lifesaving for the plant and Dunarit was pledged as collateral in the agreement.

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