Reporters without Borders grant pardon to Prokopiev

They exert pressure over the state with an accusatory letter on Peevski, an expert of dubious reputation defends the oligarch, quoting fake news

Ivo Prokopiev

After failing to push on the public the false truth that he is not an oligarch but is innocent as lamb publisher Ivo Prokopiev resorted to his favourite protection – help from abroad. The ‘pardon’ came in the form of unprecedented letter, an attempt to exert pressure on the state institutions, judicial power and publishers in Bulgaria which expose the shady affairs of the oligarch and his cronies.   

The letter was circulated on 9 November by Pauline Ades-Mevel, Head of the EU and Balkan desk at Reporters without Borders (RSF). This expert of dubious reputation shares financing channels with Prokopiev’s satellite NGOs and media outlets and for this reason she often partners with him when campaigning against Bulgaria. As of late, the oligarch uses her as a foreign mouthpiece for transmitting his lies and as a media shield against those who probe into his affairs. The grounds for investigations are very solid – Prokopiev is incriminated for selling the government’s share in EVN Bulgaria and for laundering money he banked after the mafia-style appropriation of Kaolin mining company in the course of privatisation, as well as for hiding the output of Kaolin for years in order to evade taxes worth of BGN dozens of millions.

In her letter Mevel takes the liberty to do two things that are absolutely out of the question for a journalist – she pressurises the state and its judicial authorities instructing them how and against whom to conduct investigations. Besides, the alleged media expert not only defames the main enemy of the oligarchy in Bulgaria, MP of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and our publisher Delyan Peevski, but quotes apparently false information which embarrassingly coincides with the defensive theses furnished by Prokopiev himself.          

The most blatant example of it is a statement claiming that the media outlets of our publishing group started inquiring into Prokopiev’s affairs as late as 2009, in response to publications in Capital and Dnevnik dailies. If Medel stuck to the basic rule of a journalist - to check out information which she so thoughtlessly spreads - she would have found that we have been inquiring into Prokopiev’s shady deals from the remote 1998, the year when the first issue of Monitor was published. And, in contrast to Prokopiev, over the span of these years we have never backtracked on revealing the truth about the affairs of the behind-the-scenes clique and mafia-style privatisation.

Now it’s time to note that that if Medel checked out her information she would have found something else: the oligarch whom she tries to present as an independent publisher is actually an iconic example of censorship and pressure over journalists in Bulgaria. Some years ago, Prokopiev became famous for putting editorial policy in pledge for a bank loan thus admitting that the materials published in his media outlets should not necessarily have journalistic value provided they ensure financial benefit. Some time later, this champion of freedom of speech exposed his true nature of a censor in a letter to his team where he listed instructions on how to cover the protests against power distribution monopolists in favour of his friends from EVN. Apropos, his relationships with EVN constitute a part of Prokopiev’s indictment submitted to court. But who would bother to read official documents if one can just reiterate the talking points so convenient for the oligarchs. Isn’t it true, Ms. Mervel? Now, in the vein of awkward questions, we would rephrase the question of Erin Brockovich: “Would you drink this water from Merichleri?” If the name of this resort town does not tell you anything, we can give you a clue - the town was depopulated after an outbreak of leukemia precipitated by the business activity of the man you are defending. In an attempt to make more millions at the expense of people his company brazen-facedly infringed even on the people’s right for healthy environment poisoning drinking water in the region. You won’t find a word about it on the pages of the so-called “White Book”, the presentation of which you attended. In contrast to you, however, the doors were closed for all media representatives, who fearlessly fight against these most ugly manifestations of the oligarchy’s true nature, of which Prokopiev is an exemplary exponent.  This same oligarchy, to which the above quoted expert of the Reporters without Borders granted pardon yesterday, grabbed the opportunity and used this letter without much ado to resume attacks against their eternal foe Delyan Peevski. The flagship of Prokopiev’s Economedia, the Capital daily, published a new piece of fake news explaining how the lawmaker allegedly made plans to establish control over the Prosecutor’s Office and the Bureau of Special Investigation Means via only one man. In a bid for more ornateness and for lack of any evidence, the pen-pushers of Prokopiev string along a totally absurd thesis: that Peevski is an MP of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and it was the MRF that nominated the candidate. There are five members of the Bureau of Special Investigations Means, though, and they are elected absolutely transparently by all parties represented in Parliament.          

Another crucially important point is that Peevski not only does not controls these institutions but definitely avoids interfering either into the work of the special services or the work of the prosecution. Unlike him, though, Prokopiev has one notorious puppet in the judicial power and this puppet of his defends the oligarch who has plundered millions. The person in question is chair of the Supreme Court of Cassation Lozan Panov, whose name surfaced in the verbatim records of ARGO-gate for he was frequently mentioned by Prokopiev as a possible presidential candidate. It was only the reputation of a Black Swan of Panov’s better half, Betty Panova that flunked him.    

There is only one true fact – owing to their monstrous affairs the oligarchs should have long been sent to jail and retribution for their crimes should come, albeit belatedly. It cannot be warded off by a phony protective armour which the oligarchs put on to be able to pose as “independent publishers”. The charges against Lord of Razgrad have nothing to do with freedom of speech. He is accused of crimes that inflicted damages to the state and its citizens worth hundreds of millions, as some of his victims even lost their health and lives. As for the fake news which his media outlets are spreading, it is a classic example of evidence-free propaganda.

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