Kostov admits to receiving money from CorpBank

The tranches were supposedly about monitoring the business of Tsvetan Vassilev and not payments for rent

Ivan Kostov

Former Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, widely viewed as the founding father of the Bulgarian oligarchy, has admitted to receiving hefty sums from the now failed CorpBank. The lender was drained financially by one of his protégées – Tsvetan Vassilev, who is currently hiding from the Bulgarian judicial system in Serbia.

During a hearing in the case stemming from the lender’s engineered collapse, which is being tried in a Sofia court, last week Biser Lazov, the former right hand of the fugitive banker, said that Kostov was on the take. According to the witness’s testimony, Kostov received about BGN 25,000 a month from CorpBank, transferred to a company managed by the former premier’s daughter, Mina.

Several days after the shocking revelations, Kostov came out from deep within the behind-the-scenes shadows, where he has been hiding for years, to give a scripted interview in his defence. Two facts surrounding his media appearance stand out. First – the platform he chose was the website Offnews, which is a satellite of the Capital circle controlled by the indicted oligarch Ivo Prokopiev (another one of Kostov’s serfs who was practically gifted multi-million-lev businesses such as the mining company Kaolin and the winery Damianitza during the criminally conducted privatisation process – editor’s note).

The second intriguing fact is that in an attempt to cover up the situation, Kostov actually admitted to taking money from CorpBank – and not as payments for rent but for “business monitoring of Tsvetan Vassilev’s operations”. Kostov claims to have been “a principal party to a contract for risk analysis, assessment and monitoring services for his (Vassilev’s) businesses, with the contract’s value not different from the average market one”. This particular source of revenue made it possible “to assemble and develop the expert capacity of the Risk Analyses and Management Center”, according to the former premier.

What is the problem with Kostov’s explanation? There are many – starting with the fact that several years ago he insisted that he had nothing to do with CorpBank and that his wife had an account there for the purpose of receiving her pension payments only. Moreover, there can hardly be that many people who can say that they did “business monitoring” for Tsvetan Vassilev in exchange for such high fees, given the way that the CorpBank pyramid collapsed (analysts believe that the lender was designed as a fraudulent financial scheme from the very beginning of Vassilev’s management tenure there – editor’s note).




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