In a new attack on Delyan Peevski: Tsvetan Vassilev takes off his mask regarding RICO case

Boyko Atanasov, Assen Yordanov and Rumyana Chenalova betray their allegiances by protecting the fugitive banker

Delyan Peevski

Fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev had made yet another desperate attempt to cover up his Russian ties and deflect attention away from his crimes and towards another target, in the process of which he took off his mask regarding the RICO case.

The claim was filed with the district court of New York in the autumn of 2018, but until recently Vassilev was hiding his involvement in the attempt to launch a civil law suit on US ground. Officially the first step towards legal action was taken by lawyer Zahari Tomov. It was intended as an attack on all enemies of the indicted banker, with the half-page list of names naturally including the main target – MRF lawmaker and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski.

The poorly patched-up story was a natural continuation of Vassilev’s first attempt to frame Peevski as well as the Bulgarian investigative and oversight institutions in front of the US authorities for the collapse of CorpBank with a claim under the Global Magnitsky Act. The attempt in question has clearly failed, as there has been no movement on his claim for several years now. In the meantime, three different international institutions, including the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), confirmed that the bank’s collapse was engineered by Vassilev himself, who syphoned it off.

The case in the New York court has gone nowhere in the past year and a half, with the clear futility of his malicious reports obviously frustrating the indicted banker and making him come out of the shadows. In July the court ordered for the procedure to be suspended, which likely pushed Vassilev to the desperate move to file another, amended claim and in doing so not only take off the mask by revealing his involvement in the whole story, but shed light on the identity of all of his pawns.

A visit to the PACER electronic system of the US courts shows that on 13 January a statement by Vassilev in support of the claim appeared in the database. In the days leading up to it, the system registered statements by all of his pawns in the media and the judicial system in Bulgaria, who have been trying for years to pass as independent and wronged in order to inundate the public consciousness with their boss’s talking points against Peevski, the oversight institutions, the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts (and more specifically the magistrates who do not yield to pressure created by smear campaigns launched by publications and journalists funded by Vassilev and his oligarchic cronies Ivo Prokopiev, Ognyan Donev and Sasho Donchev).

Statements in support of the claim have also been filed by renowned mouthpieces for Vassilev like Vera Arhundova and Daniel Bozhilov, but also magistrate Boyko Atanasov, Judge Rumyana Chenalova, who was dismissed from the Supreme Judicial Council as a form of disciplinary punishment, so-called investigative journalist Assen Yordanov and about a half dozen more. It is curious to note that all “testimonies” were given as early as the summer of 2019 – in the last week of June and the first week of July – but they were only recently entered into the system. Perhaps because the cohort needed time to regroup for a second attack.

The statements simply parrot the now familiar talking points that have been spread by all those individuals in favour of the defensive strategies used by Vassilev and the rest of the oligarchs in Bulgaria over the past few years.

And so the fugitive banker is repeating his old libels that CorpBank collapsed as a result of a “corporate raid”. It is a false claim that has been disproven by institutions, auditors and courts in Bulgaria and abroad – all of their reports confirm that Vassilev embezzled billions from the bank, turning it into a pyramid scheme and his personal piggy bank.

Most scandalous of them all, however, is the statement given by investigator Boyko Atanasov. For years, he has been openly serving the interests of shadowy players like Tsvetan Vassilev and the rest of the oligarchs – Ivo Prokopiev, Ognyan Donev and Sasho Donchev. Atanasov is also an active participant in various protests and initiatives organised by the indicted oligarchs and their pawns in violation of the ethics code of the judicial system. His name was even put forward by the website Bivol, the NGO Boets (controlled by Tsvetan Vassilev) and the Justice for All initiative, which is linked to Ivo Prokopiev, as a “citizens’ candidacy for prosecutor general”.

In its statement to the US court Atanasov sets new heights for treason. The document essentially represents a Bulgarian magistrate saying that the case should not be heard in Bulgaria because the US has jurisdiction and because Bulgaria lacks good legislation in terms of combating money laundering and corruption. Atanasov also says that even if the case can be heard in Bulgaria, the court there would not ensure a fair trial (the same thesis is presented by Chenalova in her statement). He says he shares this position as “an expert and a magistrate”, omitting the fact that the ruling on the jurisdiction of a case has to come in due process from the competent authority, which is not Atanasov. The point about lack of fair trial in Bulgaria is in violation of all ethical norms laid out by the Judicial System Act.

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