In yet another attack on Delyan Peevski: The master of bankruptcies, Prokopiev, strikes at donations

The oligarch is trying to wolf down BGN 70m in public funding earmarked for those hit by the crisis

Ivo Prokopiev

The titanic slandering efforts of Ivo Prokopiev’s so-called “mainstream” have produced a weapon that fires blanks. This is the best description of the latest salvo fired by the media outlets serving the indicted businessman against his favourite target – lawmaker and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski.

Why Peevski would be the favourite target of Prokopiev and the publications in his libel machine is pretty clear. The fact that for decades now we, the outlets in the media group owned by Peevski, have been shining light on the oligarch’s crimes is just one of the reasons. The other one is the legislative proposals of the MP, which have stemmed the schemes of not only Prokopiev, but the rest of the oligarchs in Bulgaria as well. In combination, these two circumstances have led to shots fired against Peevski for every move he makes to help society – a tactic that has morphed into peppering the MP with absurd talking points formulated by Prokopiev. The latest instance concerns the lawmaker’s donations to assist hospitals and frontline medical workers in their battle against the novel coronavirus.

After several weeks of harassing doctors across the country with requests for information, Prokopiev’s machine produced a pamphlet rife with ludicrous inaccuracies enough to drive any law or economics professor to reach for the sedatives. But that is what happens when you work with talking points formulated by a man who may present himself as a businessman, but is nothing more than a crook who understands fraudulent schemes (although that is debatable too, considering the fact he is being tried) but not economics. To be more exact, he is a bankrupt crook, who is chin-deep in debt for a second time. He has somehow reached this state even though he defrauded Bulgarian citizens of tens of millions through privatisation deals and artificially inflated electricity prices.

And so we find a plethora of contradicting assertions in the much-anticipated “journalistic investigation” by the obscure website For the Truth (which would very much like you to believe it is not affiliated with Prokopiev) published under the pompous headline, “Intrust – Delyan Peevski’s hidden charitable portfolio”. That the company is public and that its sole proprietor Peevski cannot make decisions as to how it should spend its money. That the managing director is the only one who has this power. That the very fact that a multitude of donations were made in a short span of time is suspicious. The author of the text somehow sees as the biggest sin the fact that part of the donations were made with the express condition that they should benefit frontline doctors. The author’s conclusion is that the goal of the donations is to get tax relief and there could even be money laundering involved!

How did the author of this “investigation” reached that conclusion is completely baffling, but if they had gone to the trouble of consulting with actual legal experts and economists instead of a self-proclaimed legal practitioner with the Anti-Corruption Fund (also supposedly not affiliated with Prokopiev), they would have at least understood that under the letter of the law “public” are only those companies whose shares are traded on the stock exchange, which is not true for solely owned joint-stock companies like Intrust.

The company is solely owned by Delyan Peevski, as the article itself notes, but that detail does not seem to bother the author. Nor does the fact that the law stipulates that as a sole proprietor Peevski has the power to make decisions that fall within the competence of the General Assembly.

Even the simplest check would show that as a public figure Delyan Peevski files property and financial statements with the Anti-Corruption Commission for Illegal Assets Forfeiture (ACCIAF) in his capacity as a natural person. His company Intrust shares its financial reports with the Commercial Register every year.

Whether Peevski makes his donations as an individual or through a company that he solely owns is essentially irrelevant. What is important is that he transfers the rights to the donation immediately and free of charge to the beneficiary and prepares a contract that testifies to the transaction and serves as record for accounting purposes. These requirements were fully met in the case of Intrust’s donations. The article also covers them, but makes the insinuation that they were not fulfilled. If that insinuation of Prokopiev’s pawns was true, it would make offenders of all major donors that have been helping hospitals in this crisis – huge companies like telecom operators, banks and entire holdings. Apparently Prokopiev is the only one who is not committing violations – for the simple reason that he is not making any donations. He must be mentally stuck in the Kostov era when there were no rules and anyone could snatch a piece of state property as long as the former premier allowed it. There could be no other logic behind the argument of Prokopiev’s people that donations should only be made to the logistics team set up with the Ministry of Health, not directly to hospitals and doctors. These days are long gone. There are laws and working control mechanisms in this country. Peevski and anyone else who abides by them has the right to donate to those they feel need it – the Ministry of Health, the National Operative Staff, hospitals and doctors.

But why read laws when you write to please a certain someone?! A man who has shown (including through the article in questions, which is clearly built on his theses) that he only knows how to steal from people. This is why he has gone bankrupt twice despite the fact that his mentor – Ivan Kostov, the godfather of the criminally conducted privatisation process – gave him some of the most lucrative public assets like the mining company Kaolin on a silver platter and even though Prokopiev continued to steal from the state and all its citizens after that thanks to a dozen schemes in the energy sector like the inflated prices of the electricity generated by his HPPs and the privatisation of the minority state-owned stake in the utility EVN. The first time he saved himself by fleeing from his creditors to Singapore. He probably would like to flee again now, seeing that he has accumulated tens of millions in debt once again, but that is not an option because he is being tried in one case and has been charged in another.

This is namely the reason why he is inundating the public consciousness with all sorts of ridiculous insinuations through his media machine. The goal is to draw attention away from his crimes and attempt to undermine the pillars of society and the solidarity shown by donors, but also to hide the fact that, unlike others, he and his oligarchic cronies in the country have not given a single lev to help the state and its citizens in their battle against the biggest disaster of this century – the coronavirus. And while every conscientious citizen of this country does whatever they can to help, the people who plundered the state have only one thing on their mind – how to stuff their pockets and their companies’ safes so they can get reprieve from the creditors knocking on their doors. One option is to insert a pawn of theirs into the governing body of the Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB), which is exactly what Prokopiev did in order to put a hand on some of the BGN 700m the state rolled out in support of citizens and businesses in need. And while the mainstream was running the absurd article, said pawn, aka Panayot Filipov, became executive director of the BDB. Through him Prokopiev is hoping to install consultancies in the chain that will allocate hundreds of millions of levs so he can wolf down 10% of the public relief funds. In other words, BGN 70m of the money intended for those in need.

Apparently, for the oligarchy and its media outlets it is a crime to donate during a pandemic, but it is not a crime to steal and make panic moves to continue to do so just so you can keep your creditors at bay. This sort of cynicism unmasks Prokopiev and his gang as heartless crooks that possess not a kernel of humanity. But as Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” That applies to Bulgarian society too. Some, like the publisher of Telegraph Media, give people health with what they have earned through honest means and do not care about economic tricks. Others, like Prokopiev & Co., only know how to kill – not only companies built with our money, but entire towns. It is enough to see the number of obituaries in Merichleri.

A while ago, Delyan Peevski said in an interview that the time of these oligarchs was coming to an end. Well, obviously it has.

Oligarch Ivo Prokopiev’s minions tinkered and sweated until they finally came up with a text that not only does not contain anything to incriminate their boss’s enemy – Delyan Peevski – but exposes them as pawns who get their talking points from their masters via email. Do you remember the email with “Prokopiev’s ruminations”, which served as instructions for his media machine?

The latest malicious article shines a spotlight not only on the entire chain of obscurantist journalists and publications, which has now been revealed to include the website For the Truth (For the Lie, more like it), whose pamphlet was copy-pasted by Mediapool, a website owned by Kostov’s one-time spokesperson Stoyana Georgieva, but another of Prokopiev’s favourites – the Anti-Corruption Fund. A lady presented as a legal practitioner working for the NGO makes an appearance in the article. She must have studied law in some provincial educational institution, though. This is not uncommon for Prokopiev’s horde – they write stuff, concoct talking points, spin lies and find some pseudo-competent mouthpiece to voice them so as to sound true. But the end result is a weapon that backfires on them.

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