Fake news machine slandering Peevski malfunctions
Corpulent Ivo Mirchev breaks it with the malicious operation against HippolandTelegraph Media , Sofia
The pyramid of lies built by indicted oligarch Ivo Prokopiev came crashing down in an instant under the weight of Ivo Mirchev, the corpulent avatar of former justice minister Hristo Ivanov, aka Pinocchio. The giant Hippoland gaffe of the fat troll illuminated the fact that for decades now the Capital cult has been spewing thousands of lies against Delyan Peevski, lawmaker and publisher of the newspapers Monitor and Telegraph.
The failure of the malicious operation involving the toy retailer Hippoland showed that all the fabrications the Fake News Factory is trying to pin on Peevski can actually be traced to the godfather of the mainstream media machine Ivo Prokopiev.
Mirchev spread the patently absurd lie that Peevski wants to acquire Hippoland. But on Saturday the entire construct of that piece of fake news collapsed – because the claim was refuted twice by none other than the owner of the toy retailer, Marian Kolev.
To smooth over his pawn’s giant gaffe, Hristo Ivanov parroted Saturday on Facebook the entire Hippoland talking point created by Capital as it regards the lawmaker. It was further embellished with a fake news item curtesy of the Bulgarian desk of Radio Free Europe (RFE) – where Prokopiev has outsourced some of his fake news production. For the sake of couching it in some form of “authenticity”, the lie was first disseminated by Capital scribbler Denitsa Koseva via the obscure German website IntelliNews and then recycled through the RFE.
The reason for this brutal Hippoland fake news is rooted in the Friday announcement made by the CorpBank bankruptcy administrators that another BGN 430m, some of which was retrieved thanks to the so-called Peevski Act, will be paid out to defrauded depositors. The news obviously enraged the oligarchy, which signaled for yet another attack against Peevski. His legislative activity was targeted. Prokopiev’s website Dnevnik, the flagship of fake news, concocted a monstrous manipulation saying Peevski does not obey his own law for introducing transparency to the ownership and funding of media outlets. The manipulation was created with the help of a mole in the Ministry of Culture, which is headed by Prokopiev’s puppet minister Boil Banov. The oligarch’s pawns cited data from a Telegraph Media financial statement, which somehow disappeared from the ministry’s system. The sabotage of the public register to service the Capital circle’s agenda, however, failed miserably as the Telegraph Media statement was filed online before the deadline to do so, was signed with an e-signature and the date and hour stamp is clearly visible.
Thus, the flagship of Prokopiev’s libel machine unmasked itself. For the umpteenth time, Dnevnik exposed itself as a platform for fake news. However, the entire mainstream media machine acted on the personal orders of Prokopiev, the same oligarch who made his first millions through shady privatisation deals under Kostov’s government, most notably the sale of the mining company Kaolin. Then he hurt Bulgarian citizens’ pockets through the “green energy” surcharge added to electricity bills. He is still being tried for the EVN scheme, even though the first instance court controlled by the oligarchy’s minion, Judge Lozan Panov, acquitted him.
The shorthand records of the half-conspiratorial ARGO-gate meeting of the behind-the-scenes clique gave us Prokopiev’s admission that he controls the mainstream media. Western analysts have concluded that the mainstream and the fakestream (the constant feed of fake news) mostly overlap, which is certainly the reality in Bulgaria. Prokopiev’s buddies from Reporters Without Borders are pretending not to see that glaring fact, placing the country 111th in terms of media freedom with their distorted surveys.
The talking points against Peevski are focused on five themes. The first is to hit and take down companies of people viewed as competition by the behind-the-scenes clique. The oligarchy could not exist without access to public funding, which is why it removes competing businesses from its path to securing pubic procurement orders. Apparently, Prokopiev looks up enemy companies in the Commercial Register and gives orders for their destruction. That is how the first fake news item came about – that Peevski had his hand in highway construction. That particular fabrication died a quick death as Telegraph and Monitor exposed a scheme involving the construction of a 9.3-kilometer (nearly 6 miles) stretch of the Hemus Motorway, which strongly smacked of corruption. Then the Fake News Factory moved to the railway industry, claiming that Peevski had business interests in the construction of railway stations and railroads. That turned out to be yet another lie. The attempts to link Peevski to Bulgartabac, even though he sold his minority stake in the company years ago, fall into the same category of talking points.
Then came the Dunarit lie, which was denied by the lawmaker with an open letter to the media back in 2016. Arms dealer Emiliyan Gebrev, aka Agent Dimov of the communist-era State Security, sits pretty at both the entry and exit points of the military plant. He is using it to embezzle resources and steal NATO secrets. The Specialised Prosecutor’s Office revealed that money is regularly paid from a Romanian bank account of Dunarit to the financial fraudster Tsvetan Vassilev hiding in luxury in Belgrade.
Secondly, there is the false claim about Peevski holding a media monopoly, when in reality he owns five newspapers total, and a press distribution monopoly. That particular talking point was disproven by National Statistical Institute data showing that 223 newspapers were published in the country in 2019, 32 of which dailies. Two years ago, the Commission on Protection of Competition debunked in its media analysis the insinuations that Peevski has a distribution monopoly. Since then, the state has taken over that business through Bulgarian Posts, irrevocably demolishing the mainstream media machine’s lies.
The third regurgitated theme is CorpBank. The idea here is to cover up the crimes of Tsvetan Vassilev, aka the Bulgarian Madoff, who stole BGN 5.6bn and tried to put a hand on the lender’s lucrative assets acquired with the defrauded depositors’ money. It is the Peevski Amendment to the Bank Insolvency Act that prevented the secondary plundering of CorpBank and allowed bankruptcy administrators to return more than BGN 1.25bn to the insolvency estate. On that score the most active operative is the Anti-Corruption Fund, led by Prokopiev’s protégé Nikolay Staykov. The fund produced two episodes of The CorpBank Case: The Missing Names. The second video, 11 minutes long, was released on 8 November 2019, hours after the scandal over the illegal Moscow visit of Nikolay Malinov, at the time investigated for spying in favour of Russia, erupted and was intended as a diversion tactic. It is clear that Tsvetan Vassilev generously pays anyone willing to publish manipulations against Peevski. Leaving no doubt as to who ordered that piece of journalistic brilliance, Vassilev’s wife, Antoaneta, personally weighed in with a tweet. Mere hours after Staykov shared the link to the second installment, the lady publicly scolded him: “We expected more @NikolayStaykov!” It is clear that such admonishing tone can be employed publicly only by someone who commissioned, produced and sponsored the project.
Fourthly, there is the campaign to pin the Bulgarian Madoff’s Russian ties on Peevski. Those were exposed when Tsvetan Vassilev tried to gift his Russian mentors BGN 1bn in lucrative assets bought with the money of defrauded CorpBank depositors. The first attempt was made through the so called €1 Gang of the Belgian with Russian passport Pierre Louvrier, who was a proxy for the Kremlin oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. Then it was another strawman for Malofeev – Dmitry Kosarev. And finally, the same assets were supposed to fund a plan to steer Bulgaria back into Russia’s orbit. The main characters in this fellowship – Malofeev and Russian intelligence general Leonid Reshetnikov – have been banned from entering the country for 10 years, while Russophile №1, Malinov, has been indicted for espionage.
On the gas pipeline front, Pinocchio himself tried to spread fake news. The failed former minister of justice, who was crowned party leader by Ivan Kostov, is a mouthpiece for the oligarchy’s talking points against Peevski. Ivanov’s negligible party, Democratic Bulgaria, is already operating as a weapon of the oligarchy, used against Peevski every time Telegraph, Monitor and Politika make revelations. The outlets in our media group shed light on the crimes and schemes committed by oligarch Prokopiev’s clique over the past 13 years. This cult robbed the nation and turned Bulgaria into a captured state. The question now is when the voters of Democratic Bulgaria will see the duplicity of Hristo Ivanov and stop casting ballots in favour of his party.
The planet of oligarchs that is Radio Free Europe
Since it renewed its service for Bulgaria on 21 January 2019, Radio Free Europe (RFE), in its current reincarnation as a digital platform for multimedia content launched under the slogan of promoting democratic principles and ethical norms of journalism, has featured 22,600 mentions of the name Delyan Peevski. Of course, the bulk of the context in which he is mentioned is fake news. The Bulgarian desk of the RFE, generously funded with American taxpayers’ money, has been infested with people with direct ties to Prokopiev. The team is led by Ivan Bedrov – former employee of the oligarch, who continues to be part of Prokopiev’s group in the latter’s attempts at political engineering and manipulating public opinion. Polina Paunova and Boris Mitov, who are in charge of covering domestic events, are former employees of the website Mediapool, which is also connected to the indicted boss and which was hosted by his media group Economedia for years. And so instead of covering the developments in the country objectively, the Bulgarian desk of the RFE has been increasingly acting in the past year and a half as an extension of the mainstream media machine composed by the outlets of Prokopiev and the rest of the indicted and charged oligarchs in Bulgaria represented by the Union of Publishers in Bulgaria. The goal is to inundate the public consciousness with fake news and disinformation. The RFE has become a weapon to be used against the enemies of Prokopiev and the rest of the oligarchic publishers, with Delyan Peevski topping the list of targets.
The Capital cult fabrications about South Stream and Balkan Stream
As a loyal pawn of Capital, Nikolay Staykov likes to create fabrications, even though they blow up in his face every time. Among the more egregious examples is the topic of South Stream and Balkan Stream and the imaginary connection between those two projects and construction companies supposedly owned by Delyan Peevski. That mantra has been repeated for years by every single cog of Ivo Prokopiev’s machine for manipulations and subsequently retranslated by the Bulgarian desk of Radio Free Europe (RFE). The idea is to expose the “Western audience” to that lie.
Naturally, over the years this lie has gone through multiple metamorphoses, but the main point has remained the same – about an imaginary connection between Peevski and Russia. All of this is a hoax intended to cover up the very much real Kremlin dependencies of the oligarchs Ivo Prokopiev, Tsvetan Vassilev and Sasho Donchev.
The outlet most active in creating and spreading fabrications about the two energy projects is the RFE, whose archive keeps dozens of articles rife with claims covering the entire spectrum of KGB-style malicious operations – from the fabrication that Peevski would be building the pipeline to the nonsense that he would be the only one using the natural gas it carries. Ubiquitous is the allegation that dozens of companies linked to South Stream and Balkan Stream are, more or less, owned by the lawmaker. These claims are unsubstantiated and can easily be cross-checked with the public registers, but that does not seem to bother Prokopiev’s pawns. This is why once the South Stream project fell through and the Balkan Stream project was launched, they simply transferred their old lies from one project to the other, pinning everything on Peevski, just like they have been pinning made-up ties to various construction projects on him for years. All in all, the goal is to lay the blame for every problem in Bulgaria at Peevski’s feet in order to defame the lawmaker.