The 'good' oligarch Ivo Prokopiev slithers into Spiegel

He uses the widely-respected publication to exact revenge for our reports about his shady privatisation deals

Ivo Prokopiev

Ivo Prokopiev, currently indicted in the EVN case, has once again slithered his way into the western media, this time using the widely-respected publication Der Spiegel as platform. In an article immediately reprinted by the Bulgarian section of Deutsche Welle (a long-time playground of scribblers serving the Capital circle's interests - author's note), Prokopiev is cited as a source, discussing the media environment in Bulgaria. Spiegel even clarifies that he is an oligarch but somehow a “good” one, because “many set their hopes on him”.

We can only speculate as to who these people in question are. One group that definitely relies on Prokopiev are the rest of the oligarchs pulling the strings of the behind-the-scenes machine in Bulgaria - Tsvetan Vassilev, Ognyan Donev and their mentor Ivan Kostov, who are desperately trying to escape the looming retribution for the shady deals they have conducted over the years.

Such an article seems strange, to say the least, coming from Spiegel, especially considering the fact that Prokopiev is the personification of oppressed journalism submissively following talking points formulated by its masters (letters from Prokopiev to journalists in his employment were leaked several years ago and the oligarch himself has confirmed their authenticity on several occasions since then - author's note). He also gained global notoriety when, along with tangible assets like desks and computers, he pledged his publications' editorial policy as collateral for a loan. These facts are conveniently omitted by Spiegel in its article. The German magazine, which otherwise purports to have a claim on quality journalism, has been utilised as a post office box by the Capital circle multiple times in order for their fake news to be disseminated abroad. Once published in a foreign language media, the slandering articles are reprinted by the media outlets of the behind-the-scenes clique's Fake News Factory, whose flagship is the newspaper Capital, owned by Ivo Prokopiev. All those attacks are invariably and ultimately aimed at one target - MRF lawmaker and our publisher Delyan Peevski, who has been a thorn in the side of the oligarchy for years because of our journalistic investigations into their shady dealings. We were the first to uncover the criminally conducted privatisation of the mining company Kaolin, thanks to which Prokopiev made his first millions and because of which close to BGN 200m worth of his assets are currently distrained as illegally acquired. This is something that even Spiegel mentions, although the magazine awkwardly tries to downplay it. We were also the first to shed light on Prokopiev's energy sector schemes with renewable energy sources that essentially defrauded all Bulgarian citizens.

This time, even the good German friends of the energy boss backslid and unveiled before their readers the real face of the man who has been launching black PR campaigns abroad - by openly calling Prokopiev an “oligarch”. And this is something he has been trying to conceal from the public for years, by putting this label on his foes. And the most hated among them is exactly Peevski, whose media outlets unmask the 'good oligarch' on a regular basis. Prokopiev and other bosses of the behind-the-scenes powers are very worried about it. Because, without the camouflage of preachers of high morality, they can hardly attain the power they covet so much, which they need to replenish their bank accounts at the expense of the state and its citizens.

Otherwise, the article in Spiegel uses the same old talking points of the Capital circle, namely that the freedom of media in Bulgaria is seriously undermined, while for sources they rely on 'established' experts like Dimitar Stoyanov of Bivol.bg, Irina Nedeva of the Association of European Journalists (all part of the 'arsenal for mass destruction' of the grants-dependent team of Capital - author's note), as well as on Prokopiev himself. The newspaper article itself is - on the other hand - a brainchild of Jan Pul and Tobias Rapp. It is not the first time that Pul illuminates the Bulgarian secrets as his close connections with the Capital circle got exposed in his article published five years ago. Then, the main source in his 'investigation' was a Capital's correspondent in Varna, who quite by chance was a PR agent of no one else but the 'favourite child' of Ivan Kostov - the former district governor of the Black Sea capital, Dobrin Mitev. Using foreign media as mail boxes, in order to right after that reprint for propaganda purposes their publications in Prokopiev's outlets in Bulgaria, is an old ploy of the backstage power brokers used for whitewashing the criminal reputation of the circle's ringleaders. The entire exercise is paid with the money looted by the fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev from CorpBank depositors and the state. Thanks exactly to this money, plundered by him via his shell companies, Vassilev himself very often gets access to foreign media platforms.

To be sure that the article in Spiegel will produce due effect (apparently, the power brokers have to pay through the nose for such publications, as they do not release them frequently - author's note), its effect was ramped up with another lampoon, an 'oeuvre' by the fugitive banker's daughter - Radosveta. She herself is hiding from justice, but this fact is certainly omitted in her analysis entitled The Authoritarian Model in Bulgaria. Not to deflect from the set tone, the text of Radosveta Vassileva is almost a copy-paste version of the talking points promoted by Spiegel. The simple fact is that the power brokers want to be sure that they will manage to conjure in the public mind the notion that there is nothing bad about 'good oligarchy'.

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