Oligarchy’s court tries to silence Peevski again

BGN 10,000 is the price you pay in Bulgaria for telling the truth about the oligarchs who stole the country’s assets

Delyan Peevski

Following the disgraceful decision of judge Krasimir Mazgalov, member of the Management Board of the grant-funded Union of Bulgarian Judges (UBJ), who recently sentenced the newspapers Telegraph and Monitor for daring to tell the truth about the wife of Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) president Lozan Panov – that Elisaveta Panova, aka the Black Swan, has a criminal record (a circumstance that has been confirmed by the police), now it is the turn of MRF lawmaker Delyan Peevski to be attacked.

On 19 July the Sofia City Court came out with another scandalous ruling, according to which the natural gas tycoon Sasho Donchev (who accumulated his wealth through natural gas transmission fees and who has been controlling the entry point to the grid for years through his company Overgas) has to be paid BGN 10,000 in damages after “his blood pressure shot up to 188/100” and “he experienced severe distress” as a result of the statement made by Delyan Peevski in January of last year. Donchev’s initial claim was for BGN 70,000, but the court rejected that amount.

In his statement Peevski strongly objected to the provocation that was the White Paper on Media Freedom in Bulgaria, which was presented by Ivo Prokopiev, Sasho Donchev and Ognyan Donev at a press conference held in Sofia at the beginning of 2018. The “paper” contained insulting, slandering and completely false insinuations against Peevski, while his angry response was more than justified and extensively covered by the media that same night.

Sasho Donchev was represented in the case by attorney Tatyana Doncheva, who is best known for her interminable and just as futile attempts to get back into politics through the Movement 21 party she founded. The two witnesses she called to the stand, employees of Sasho Donchev in Overgas, testified that upon hearing Peevski’s comments the oligarch was immediately overset, became “upset” and suffered “high blood pressure”. He also allegedly refused to conduct meetings of the company’s Board of Directors for a long time and he was “distressed” and “under immense emotional pressure”.

The “upset” Sasho Donchev put on a show in the courtroom to get his BGN 10,000. The Sofia City Court, as represented by Judge Gergana Hristova-Koyumdzhieva (who is also a member of the grant-funded UBJ), gave credence to the witnesses, disregarding the evidence presented in the case. Interestingly enough, she did not see it fit to recuse herself from the case, despite the UBJ’s numerous declarations and positions against Delyan Peevski and his newspapers over the years. Obviously, the “party order” to use a court decision to try and silence the person who has been exposing the shady deals of oligarchs such as Sasho Donchev, Ognyan Donev and Ivo Prokopiev (who amassed their wealth illegally during Bulgaria’s transition to democracy), trumped the magistrate oath once again.

Naturally, the decision may and will be appealed, but the more pertinent thing is that for the umpteenth time the oligarchy’s court, led by the president of the SCC Lozan Panov, clearly showed the public whose interests it protects – not of the people, but of the handful of “businessmen” who criminally privatised the state’s assets and who are now doing everything in their power to escape retribution for their actions.

Telegraph and Monitor will not stop telling the truth, even in the face of the latest attempt (by someone in a magistrate’s gown) to muzzle freedom of speech and no matter how many times Donchev, Donev and Prokopiev get “high blood pressure” hearing the truth about themselves.

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