A leopard can’t change its spots

Capital conspirators hide loans extended to Bulgarian Madoff’s shell companies

The past week once again demonstrated the symbiotic relationship existing between Ivo Prokopiev and Tsvetan Vassilev, manifesting itself in joint action against Peevski. The topic this time around were documents from the ongoing court case against Vassilev, which the weekly Capital published in several consecutive issues, without explaining how those documents came into the newspaper’s possession.

The past week once again demonstrated the symbiotic relationship existing between Ivo Prokopiev and Tsvetan Vassilev, manifesting itself in joint action against Peevski. The topic this time around were documents from the ongoing court case against Vassilev, which the weekly Capital published in several consecutive issues, without explaining how those documents came into the newspaper’s possession.

What is going on explicitly for the public’s consumption? Seemingly, Prokopiev is trying to distance himself publicly from Tsvetan Vassilev by exposing through a series of documents from the court case published by Capital – letters and memos with resolutions in writing by Vassilev himself, which show that the former banker’s complete control of the processes in the bankrupt lender.

This is nothing new, at this point hardly anyone doubts that Vassilev acted as the highest instance when it came to approving loans extended by the bank, especially the unsecured ones given to the dozens of shell companies Vassilev used for the realisation of his projects.

The new wrinkle in the picture is Prokopiev joining the ranks of those discussing the topic. After the businessman spent considerable amount of time defending Vassilev’s stances, the about-face Prokopiev did three weeks ago is strange, to say the least. Prokopiev must be extremely concerned that his ties to Tsvetan Vassilev are becoming increasingly visible, which, of course, clashes with his “white collar” image. This is why Prokopiev is “attacking” Vassilev, using facts that are already public knowledge. Then comes Vassilev’s inevitable and expected response, with the fugitive scammer accusing Prokopiev on Facebook in incompetency and bending the knee to Peevski and the Prosecutor’s Office. 

But all of this is on the surface – an exchange of rehearsed lines between Prokopiev and Vassilev, designed to portray a bitter feud between the two. But to learn the true scrip behind this cheap theatre played by the two, one must read between the lines.

In reality, there is no enmity between Prokopiev and Vassilev, only coordinated action aimed against their common enemy Delyan Peevski. Yes, their goal has always been one and the same – to attack Peevski with all possible means. Because Peevski is the only one who is exposing them and preventing them from existing in peace and comfort. Peevski is their true adversary, disrupting their comfortable existence.  

What is actually happening? Vassilev’s attorneys, Konstantin Simeonov and Hristo Botev, who have unrestricted access to the court case, probably take photos of the documents containing resolutions by Vassilev and send them to Prokopiev. Then Capital publishes them as they are (the publication does not redact even the labels and stamps put by the investigators and the prosecutors), to which Vassilev responds with angry attacks against Prokopiev in Facebook posts. It looks authentic but that is the goal – to lend as much credibility as possible to the articles’ content and consequences. The published documents are real (evidence collected over the course of the investigation and are filed as part of the case paperwork) and the articles’ ramifications are also real – Vassilev reacts with anger and by throwing out accusations, which fulfills the purpose of the exercise.

Now the second and most important part of Prokopiev’s and Vassilev’s script – namely an attack against Peevski – can be sent into motion. The presumption in play is that if the facts revealed about Vassilev are true (and no one would dispute those), then the same surely must apply to the “facts” about Peevski. This is the insinuation Prokopiev aims for, without taking into account that, whereas the documents that can be held against Vassilev contain statements made by the former banker himself, with manual signings, and describe actual facts and events (that can be verified), the documents published by Capital and, in the newspaper’s view, exposing Peevski and his role in the operation of CorpBank are either unsigned documents with unclear origin (they do not contain personal declarations of wishes or signatures, by Peevski or anyone else) or are such that only Prokopiev and his loyal conspirators are able, with a great deal of imagination, to draw wild, convenient assumptions from, nothing more.

But what information can be gleaned from the document published by Capital, beyond the requisite insinuations (this time that the documents are “more than 100” and that “they clearly point to Peevski” but the Prosecutor’s Office refused to examine them)?

Capital publishes an enquiry with the State Agency for National Security (SANS) regarding the people who made use of (travelled on) Tsvetan Vassilev’s personal airplane, which apparently lists Peevski under 30. So what? Delyan Peevski has never denied that he knows Vassilev well and that the two used to be friends. Prokopiev and his conspirators seem to be suggesting that since Peevski used the plane that must automatically mean that he defrauded the failed lender of BGN 500m. What bulletproof logic! Following this line of thinking, how much have the other at least 29 people on Vassilev’s airplane passenger list “stolen” from the bank? Will someone from Capital’s conspiracy group offer an answer?

Here comes another document, a piece of unsigned paper describing 17 companies that according to Capital’s claims are owned by Peevski. And how did you figure that out, dear capital oracles? Thanks to the Commercial Register or some other document in which Peevski confirms this information or did you just peered into a crystal ball or used the help of a fortuneteller? 

With the same level of “reliability”, an endless number of firms can be added to the list – why not attribute all the troubled companies to Peevksi, while you are at it? Why is the possibility of all those businesses being under Vassilev’s control not even mentioned, after all they were all extended loans by his bank with his authorisation? And what about the loaned money, do the Capital oracles know how it was used? They do not. The borrowed capital was definitely not used by Peevski but instead was fed into the network of various transactions through which Vassilev tried to conceal the real utilisation of the unsecured loans to shell companies. 

On that note, another falsehood is Capital’s claim that the loans extended to Investment Projects and Real Estate Projects in 2011, for which the land where the Rodina Printing and Publishing Complex (in whose management Irena Krasteva participated) is located was pledged as collateral, were used by Peevski. If they had tried at least a little, the Capital conspirators would have discovered that Vassilev is the real owner of those two companies – he even has indirect interest in Real Estate Projects’ capital with his family business Trast Vassilevi – and that the borrowed money was not used for its original purpose but was instead redirected to other companies of Vassilev – Sinektik (BGN 900,000) and from there to his solely-owned firm Bromak; Karne-M EOOD (BGN 4.9m) and from there to Bromak again; as well as nearly BGN 5m wired to the Technology Centre-Institute of Microelectronics (the ultimate owner of which is Vassilev’s offshore company EFV); Kritie (€7.5m) and Bulit 2007 (€2.6), etc. And this is just part of the publicly available information on the topic. Irena Krasteva was not the only participant in the management of Rodina Printing and Publishing Complex, Vassilev was too. He sat on its Supervisory Board in the same period and was and continues to be the ultimate owner of the business through the company CD Developments (the majority owner of which is the Technology Centre-Institute of Microelectronics). The situation is similar with most of the names on the published list of companies unfairly attached to Peevski, sometimes even by using conspiratorial designations like “DP”, “the DP Group”, “DP1”, “the family’s companies” and all sorts of inventions like this.

Apropos, while we are on the subject of mysterious designations – what does the initials “file 2”, “BM”, “STD 2”, and “LG” featured on the list of assets and liabilities mean? Capital does not ask questions about those because they are inconsequential to the weekly’s purpose of creating the insinuation that “DP1” means Peevski or a circle of companies affiliated with Peevski and that the monetary equivalent of this label is BGN 500m. In other words, the idea is to suggest that Peevski has a BGN 500m debt to CorpBank. But this is a very old and tired mantra since both the Bulgarian National Bank and CorpBank’s bankruptcy administrators have stated that Delyan Peevski and the companies he owns have no outstanding loans in the failed bank (the infamous BGN 6.4m loan to Balkan Media Group, whose existence Peevski has never denied, has also been paid out). This circumstance has also been ascertained by the audit firms and the foreign consultancy AlixPartners, whose conclusions are also public domain. Capital, however, purposefully does not mention this fact and it is not because the conspirators have bad memory but because it does not fit the script being played out by Prokopiev and Vassilev. Neither does another undisputable fact – that neither of the assets acquired with CorpBank money and plundered in the aftermath of the lender’s collapse is in the hands of Peevski – neither Petrol nor BTC, or the armaments plants Dunarit and Avionams, or the paper plant Kostenets, the ultra-expensive network TV7, the Sana SPAce hotel chain, or the Rousse Shipyard. People with no affiliation with Peevski control these assets. The Capital conspirators know very well who all these people are because they have written dozens of articles in their support and in support of Vassilev. Their memory can easily be refreshed by pulling up all these articles but this will hardly be necessary…

Then comes a document with a resolution in writing by Vassilev, in which he instructs Biser Lazov “to contact Peevski (as he will partner)…” The document describes a project for deepening the Port of Midia in Constanta, Romania. What does Capital see as improper here? That Vassilev asked for the opinion or advice of Peevski? Does no one ask Prokopiev for his opinion? He is actually more presumptuous, as he has been foisting his opinions on all sorts of matters on us for years, solicited or not. Regarding the so-called partnership role of Peevski – such a project was never realised in Romania and Peevski has no involvement in the subject (the cited letter was sent to CorpBank, to the attention of Tsvetan Vassilev and not to Peevski). There is just some vague hint by Vassilev with no real consequences. If hints were enough to bring charges, thousands of innocent people would probably have been sent to jail. But Bulgaria is still a country observing the rule of law and in order to bring charges against someone authorities need actual proof.

Exposing the financial pyramid

All in all, the entire Capital article with the headline “Why aren’t you contacting DP?” is rife with insinuations and speculations worded in a way designed to suggest that Peevski had a role in the running of CorpBank and that he “was all over the court case documents” and yet the Prosecutor’s Office turned a blind eye to the clues. No, dear Capital conspirators, Peevski is only involved in the exposing of the CorpBank financial pyramid and of the secondary plundering of the assets acquired with the lender’s depositors’ money that was engineered by Vassilev and his cronies. He actually plays a major role in their unmasking and this is the reason why Peevski is the subject of constant manipulations and fake news items churned out by Capital. But Capital is well aware of that and Prokopiev’s attempt to change his tune and transition from a supporter of the scammer Vassilev to his judge is best described with the saying: “A leopard can’t change its spots.”

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