Russian hybrid attack hits Borissov

The mainstream of Prokopiev activated at the command of TASS

Russian hybrid attack has delivered a devastating blow to PM Boyko Borissov. Over a span of several hours the pro-Kremlin news agency TASS has activated the entire mainstream of indicted oligarch Ivo Prokopiev and the media outlets funded by fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev. This tight-knit media group has circulated the article published by Catalan newspaper El Periodico as one.

It is believed that the newspaper is linked to the Russian secret services and their subversive activity aimed at separating Catalonia from Spain. In a series of materials headlined “Investigation of money laundering points at Prime Minister of Bulgaria” the newspaper claims that the Catalan police and anti-corruption prosecution started a probe into PM Boyko Borissov in order to find out if he is involved in an international money laundering ring whose ultimate target was Barcelona.

The reason for the attack is that Borissov’s decision to purchase US F-16 jet fighters directly affects the Russian interests as well as his meeting with President Donald Trump, the agreement sealed between them for strategic partnership and the subsequent expulsion of diplomats from the Russian embassy in Sofia on charges of espionage.

It became even more evident that we witness a full-fledged campaign several hours later when TASS released a new article saying that Bulgaria takes part in the American hybrid war against Moscow. The wire published an unprecedented statement by Sergey Ivanov, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR RF) who claims that “The US special services have launched a campaign in Eastern Europe aimed to undermine good neighbourly relations with Russia and Bulgaria is its epicenter.”

The powerful Russian attack comes only months after Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office pressed charges against leader of the Russophiles National Movement Nikolay Malinov who was accused of spying for Russian organisations. The information and evidence presented by the public prosecution shows that Malinov was the engineer of a plan for changing political orientation of Bulgaria from pro-Western to Moscow-aligned devised by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev and GRU general Leonid Reshetnikov. For the implementation of this plan Malinov’s partner ex-banker Tsvetan Vassilev currently on trial for syphoning off billions from CorpBank, transferred billion-worth assets financed by the bank under the patronage of Malofeev.

After the scandal erupted, Malofeev and Reshetnikov were banned from visiting Bulgaria for 10 years. According to a number of publication in authoritative Western media and analytical agencies, those two are the main architects of the annexation of Crimea and the foiled coup attempt in Montenegro. Besides, other three Russian diplomats were expelled from Bulgaria on charges of espionage. Only two weeks ago the US Department of State barred Specialised Criminal Court judge Andon Mitalov from entering the United States after this same magistrate allowed Nikolay Malinov to travel to Moscow and personally receive the Order of Friendship from Vladimir Putin. The information available so far gives grounds to think that the abovementioned people are behind the hybrid attack against Borissov, as the “foot soldiers” are the so-called editor-in-chief of the racketeer website bivol.bg and Russian son-in-law having family ties with the Russian propaganda machine Atanas Chobanov, mainstream’s godfather Ivo Prokopiev and his media outlets as well as the official mouthpiece of the Bulgarian Madoff, agent Academician of the State Security Ognyan Stefanov. The very attack was effected by Georgi Georgiev from NGO Boets who flaunts his friendly relationship with Tsvetan Vassilev. However, something went wrong in the mainstream after the Catalan police denied having given any information to El Periodico.            

So, how the attack was made? Through four articles in the center-spread of El Periodico and one of its video blogs. The headlines run as follows: “The investigation into money laundering points at the Bulgarian premier” by Luis Rendueles and Vanesa Lozano and “The Catalan police reveals Russian link with network that laundered € 5m in Barcelona”, again by the same authors who refer to a signal received from Georgiev of NGO Boets; “Borisov, the Batman of the Balkans” by Victor Vargas Llamas; “Borisov, the great adulator” by political analyst Ruth Ferrero-Turion. Apart from that on the site of the newspaper Luis Rendueles posted his video blog titled “That is how the investigation of Catalan police on the case of the Bulgarian premier unfolded.”

It turned out that the so-called news is just worn-out and warmed up piece of information claiming that Borissov had a house in Barcelona. In this house lives Bulgarian ex-model Borislava Yovcheva with who Borissov allegedly had sentimental relationship. For the first time this unsavoury information surfaced in the wiretapped conversation between two judges featured in the YanevaGate transcripts in 2015. It was immediately picked up by former MP of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and now MEP Elena Yoncheva. The important detail is that she herself in on trial now for laundering Tsvetan Vassilev’s money stolen from CorpBank and is released on bail. It is expected that the European Parliament will decide whether to strip her off immunity. At that time she alarmed the Prosecutor’s Office warning that businessman Ivan Sazdov had transferred €1,7m to the account of the company owned by the aforementioned model Yovcheva. It is interesting to note that father of Elena Yoncheva is Nikola Yonchev, a lieutenant colonel of the foreign political intelligence of the State Security. He graduated from the KGB’s Intelligence School in the USSR and later worked in Brussels under codename Tasev. Among his assignments was spying on NATO, the US and other Western European countries for the First Main Directorate of the State Security and KGB. Already upon his arrival he was put in touch with the KGB station chief in Brussels. His supervising officer was Comrade Svistelnikov as Nikola Yonchev himself was filed in the FGB archives under alias Garin.

So, the ground for the current claims of El Periodico that the Bulgarian Premier is being probed into are the reports of this man’s daughter as the main body of information is based on a signal coming from Bulgaria, namely from the organization called MC BUUP  (Movimiento Civil Bulgaria Unida). However, in fact the source is NGO Boets funded by Tsvetan Vassilev, which transpires from the second article of the same edition. It cites directly Georgi Georgiev of Boets. The fraudster’s errand boy explains for the newspaper that he sent a warning to the Catalan police on 20 March 2019. It notes that Borislava Yovcheva lives in a posh house together with her family and she allegedly has an affair with Borissov.

“I have neither a house nor any business in Spain. I have said it a thousand times so far and I say it again. I don’t know why my name is implicated in it,” Borissov commented from Brussels.

In its second compromising material El Periodico claims that the house in which the model lives belongs to Alexander Chaushev, former top manager of Lukoil. As early as 20 May 2019, the PM said before bTV channel: “In Bankya they point at one house, which, to my mind, belongs to Emil Kyulev and say that it is mine. In Barcelona they point at the house of Sasho Chaushev and say that it is mine. The house has a notary act, it has all the necessary documents. They have been doing it for years on end. I cannot do anything about it.” Chaushev himself also confirmed that the house in Spain belongs to him, not to the premier.

Similar to Pierre Louvrier, the fraudster with Russian passport who tried to lay hands on the golden assets of CorpBank for     1 euro, another Russian name surfaces in the article, namely Alexander Chavsev. The hybrid puzzle of El Priodici is described by no one else but the foot soldier of the Bulgarian Madoff Georgi Georgiev of Boets. He maintains that Chasev is the key partner in Numin Invest SL, the company to whose name the model’s house is registered. The same Chasev was one of the former chiefs of Lukoil and was on friendly terms with Valentin Zlatev. He even admits that the two of them “have been close friends for years.” Georgiev says that the Russian was a go-between in the purchase of the house in Barcelona owing to his hefty income.

On the basis of this article the pro-Kremlin news agency TASS launches the devastating hybrid attack on Borissov played out as if by a scenario described in KGB manuals.

TASS was the first wire to report about the article in El Periodico posting it at 9,06 a.m. local time. At the command from the mainstream of the indicted oligarch Ivo Prokopiev all of their outlets started to disseminate the article. Almost at once it appeared on Frognews, a little later was reproduced by the flagship of the Fake News Factory Dnevnik, then by Mediapool and finally by the sites of the pharmaceutical tycoon Ognyan Donev, Club Z and Sega of the natural gas lord Sasho Donchev. More than that – the sites of Donev and Donchev claimed that the Catalan police confirmed that the probe was underway: “Investigation is launched into Prime Minister Boyko Borissov but as long as it is not completed yet we cannot give more information,” allegedly told Sega sources of the Catalan police press office. However, in fact the Catalan police gave quite different information (see the box). 

The hybrid attack is the apex in the entire series of events unfolding against the backdrop of the Russian ties. Apart from the scandal with Plan Bulgaria, the plot of Malofeev, Reshetnikov, Malinov and Tsvetan Vassilev, the Russian ties surfaced again during the hackers attack against the National Revenue Agency which rocked the country in the summer of the last year. It turned out that the investigative site bivol.bg, whose editor-in-chief is Atanas Chobanov, received the hacked files via Telegram app from Kristian Boykov, staffer of the TAD Group. Chobanov’s wife, Maria Onuchko who works for Russia beyond the Headlines, the international project sustained by the Kremlin propaganda machine, is the daughter of a longtime correspondent of RIA Novosti in Paris and Brussels Victor Onuchko. During the 1980s France was a country of special interest for the Russian spies.  The agents of KGB and GRU were roaming around Paris gathering intelligence information about President Francois Mitterrand and the government which then turned against him from time to time.  On the other hand, the technical intelligence officers frequented the Air Show at Bourget in a bid to steal modern technologies. During the Cold War the headquarters of COCOM was located in Paris. This is the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls established primarily by NATO member countries. Its task was to monitor exports of the dual-use goods to the USSR and its Eastern bloc satellites. The Soviet spies were extremely proficient in circumventing bans and getting hold of technologies that could be used for military purposes.    

The plot used for hitting Borissov is the same as that used by the mainstream of the behind-the-scenes clique for its unceasing attacks against lawmaker and publisher of Telegraph Media Delyan Peevski. The mainstream is actually an undercover Russian network operating in Bulgaria whose task is to defend the interests of the Russia-aligned oligarchs in the country.

The Prime Minister from Brussels: I know who commissioned the attack and am aware of the role of my “office neighbour” in it

Neither do I have a house in Spain nor have I visited Barcelona in the last 15 years, that is why there is no reason for me to feel accountable for something that is not grounded in any proof. Moreover that none of the agencies, authorities, police or prosecutors were looking for me to ask if this is true. A year ago the children of the GRU officers said the same and I can bet a handful of rubles that this time the attack comes from the East as well. I know who had commissioned it, I know who are the executives and I am aware of the role in it of my office neighbour!”

This was the comment of Boyko Borissov from Brussels on the Russian hybrid attack against him launched by Spanish newspaper El Periodico picked up by TASS news agency.

“Every year on a regular basis, as election campaign is getting nearer, they start rolling this fake news. Their aim is to derange me but they will not succeed. Besides, I was forewarned about the next in row attempt to revive this crazy manipulation,” Borissov said. “I understand these police ploys, they are very transparent. It has been all prepared, we were waiting for an apex that had to come on Wednesday. Howevr, something has gone wrong, it didn’t happen and now they want to shake me loose during the night,” Borissov said further. He also explained that the Spanish newspaper has missed several moments in his professional biography. “The newspaper missed something very important. I am a holder of high police orders and medals, including the Red Cross Order of the Spanish police,” he added.

Asked whether he knows the model whose name the newspaper associates with him he said: “The fact that you know somebody doesn’t make you involved in anything whatsoever. It is not decent for a man to comment on who know whom because it may entail trouble. Many people start families afterwards, some entirely new life.”

“So, let them complete their investigation… but to be frank, I am almost sure that it comes from the East and I betted a handful of rubles on what will finally come out of it,” Borissov said commenting the news that the Spanish police is probing into him.

At the National Assembly, Minister of Interior Mladen Marinov also commented the claims by the Spanish newspaper. He is adamant that there were no enquiries from the Spanish authorities regarding the property status of Boyko Borissov. Siyka Mileva, spokesperson for the Prosecutor General, also flatly denied that the Bulgarian authorities were approached for any kind of probe or inquiry.           

El Periodico is linked to the Russian secret services and Medellin drug cartel, the name of the owner surfaces in Panama Papers

People in Spain, as well as the analysts, qualify El Periodico as an openly separatist newspaper linked with the Russian secret services and Medellin drug cartel. That is why it is no wonder that the newspaper which spreads Russian propaganda has launched a powerful attack against Prime Minister Boyko Borissov making public the warnings of Elena Yoncheva and the foot soldier of Tsvetan Vassilev Georgi Georgiev having in mind their close connections with the Kremlin.

The owner of El Periodico is Francisco Javier Moll de Miguel who also owns the second largest media group Prensa Iberica (EPI). On numerous occasions he was quoted as a man who purchases concrete media outlets just to close them down. He is described as a merciless man who made making money his cult. His father also is worthy of note. He was an army officer from Mallorca involved in espionage and sabotage and served the Nazis. Moll made fortune at 28 and the origin of his wealth is questionable.  The family of his wife Sarasola is also noteworthy. It is associated with Colombian drug cartel Medellin and trafficking in arms. This name has surfaced in the Panama Papers journalistic inquiry.

The Spanish media have repeatedly noted that El Periodico is the biggest Catalan newspaper which openly supports the separatist policy and the attempts to divorce Catalonia from Spain, to which the Russian secret services massively contribute. Already three years ago a scandal broke out over the fact that the Spanish special services investigated the possible meddling of the Russian secret services in the political quakes in Catalonia aimed at destabilisation of Spain and the entire European Union. The Spanish daily El Mundo reported then that Russian spies in association with Russian hackers helped to avoid shutting down of several pro-separatist sites during the referendum. Their links with the leaders of the separatist Catalan parties are not to be ruled out.

It has also transpired that the former Catalan government sought support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.             

Catalan police: We cannot confirm the probe into Borissov

“We cannot confirm the information published in El Periodico,” Catalan police replied to the enquiry of the Monitor Agency. They also noted that police carries out the orders of the anti-corruption prosecution and, as far as the classified information is concerned, they cannot specify whether an investigation is conducted and who the target is. Police officers were adamant that they were not the source of the information quoted in the articles.  

Two dark Soviet periods in Kostov’s biography

Founding father of a parallel state in Bulgaria Ivan Kostov avoids mentioning two dark Soviet periods in his life. The first one is his stay in the city of Kremenchug, Ukraine where he studied for a pilot. The second is his life in Moscow, this time as an assistant professor of political economy at the Center for Ideological Studies of the Lenin Higher Technological Institute where he was a student at the Academy of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. His research advisor was Prof. Vladimir Dorofeevich Kamaev, the Communist dinosaur and ideologist of the Soviet regime.

The mainstream is the platform which helps disseminate fake news, besides it is the basic element in Kostov’s parallel state, built of banks, circles of firms, foundations, grant-funded NGOs and grant-dependent magistrates whose activity is best manifest in the attacks launched by the judges catering for the oligarchs’ interests from the Union of Bulgarian Judges and chair of the Supreme Court of Cassation Lozan Panov.     

The aim is to grapple with the state using money, propaganda ploys, behind-the-scenes political agreements and to contaminate the community with toxic fakes. The oligarchs employ the mainstream also as a shield against Themis as any investigation into their shady deals is presented as an encroachment on freedom of speech. All those who dare to expose their plundering schemes are flooded by torrents of disinformation

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