Peevski's bill against secondary plundering of CorpBank hits shadowy clique

Delyan Peevski

In March of this year the Bulgarian parliament approved amendments to the Bank Insolvency Act proposed by Movement for Rights and Freedoms lawmakers Delyan Peevski, Yordan Tsonev and Hamid Hamid. They were intended to stave off the plundering of the assets pledged as collateral for the loans extended by CorpBank.

Just six months after the law was brought into effect, CorpBank's bankruptcy administrators announced that real action had been taken by the lender, with numerous claims filed for the restoration of collaterals used in set-offs as well as petitions for the restoration of encumbrances. The expectations are that a sum of approximately BGN 240m will be collected via the sale of property, enterprises and other assets that are to go on a public auction. Under the new texts in the law, all fictitious set-offs, cessions and transfers that do not involve actual and adequate payments (tools through which CorpBank assets were plundered) should be nullified. In addition, the cancellations of all collaterals, special pledges, and mortgages illegally performed by the bank's conservators are also to be voided.

Naturally, those affected by the law rushed to strike back in a bid to keep what they have managed to steal. The media of the Capital circle and the websites affiliated with Tsvetan Vassilev were put to work. The matter was even referred to the Constitutional Court by the Supreme Court of Cassation headed by the infamous Judge Lozan Panov. The request is for section 8 of the Bank Insolvency Act's transitional provisions, which was added during the vote on the bill at second hearing, to be declared unconstitutional. Section 8 allows for a retroactive effect and thus the nullifying of all set-offs performed after the moment CorpBank was placed under special supervision. It was with these set-offs and cessions, most of which fictitious, that BGN 1.7bn were syphoned off. As of now, the bank has filed 205 lawsuits.

The Constitutional Court case does not concern the rest of the amendments to the Bank Insolvency Act initiated by the MPs Delyan Peevski, Yordan Tsonev and Hamid Hamid which regard the restoring of collaterals in favour of the bank; the filing of lawsuits that seek the nullity of deals with which the rights to debt claims that originated from the bank were transferred to third parties without payment against it; and the nullifying of orders for transfers of shares and stakes issued by individuals indebted to the bank. In other words, the main body of the law is not called into question.

In a short press release on its official website dated 28 September the Supreme Administrative Court notes that its judges support the opinion of their Supreme Court of Cassation colleagues regarding the lone sections 8 on which the Constitutional Court judges have to rule.

The Capital circle media outlets and websites affiliated with the Bulgarian Bernard Madoff such as Frognews, however, were quick to spread the untruth that the Supreme Administrative Court has “deemed the 'Peevski Act' unconstitutional” in their bid to create a simple manipulation to protect the interests of those who plundered CorpBank assets.

And so the ties between the fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev and the indicted oligarch Ivo Prokopiev were exposed yet again. But no matter how much the two actively propagate their lies, they cannot change the fact that untying the hands of CorpBank's bankruptcy administrators through the passed amendments is the only effective recourse for returning to CorpBank's insolvency estate at least part of what was stolen in the largest engineered bank failure in Bulgarian history.

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