Thief Tsvetan Vassilev churns out transparent lies about Delyan Peevski

There is a Bulgarian saying that literally translates as “Lies have short feet”. If we were to modernise it a bit, we would add “and thieves have prolific tongues”. That is especially true when said thieves have billions of levs stolen from CorpBank depositors behind their back. Thanks to the embezzled money, in the case of Tsvetan Vassilev the proverbial tongue is powerful enough to reach Sofia all the way from Belgrade.

The lies that the fugitive banker is spewing are being spread with the speed of light by all sorts of internet trolls, websites and mouthpieces on his payroll. Leading the pack is Frognews owned by Ognyan Stefanov, aka agent Academician of the communist State Security. It is there that we find the latest serving of lies, this time inspired by the news that the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTK) is about to have a new owner, whose majority shareholder is a London-based fund. Initial reports put the price of the deal at €1.3bn.

Said number is featured prominently in the new slandering piece by Tsvetan Vassilev. The fugitive banker is clutching at straws here, trying to convince his audience that if the telecom operator has such a high estimated price, neither the “multibillion-lev claims” filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission for Illegal Assets Forfeiture (ACCIAF) nor the charges raised against Vassilev by the Prosecutor’s Office have grounds. But what is the actual truth? It is plain to see and Vassilev knows that all too well – the aforementioned price was reached after serious efforts and investments made by the current management of the company. BTK was sold to its current owner three years ago for a much lower amount – €330m – while carrying a debt burden of €400m (a large chunk of it owed to CorpBank). The deal was struck in complete transparency via a public tender in London. Even college freshmen studying economics and finance know that public tenders are the most objective market instrument to determine the price of an asset that is being sold. Only Vassilev is capable of arguing the opposite. But he has several billions of reasons to lie, which he does in his slandering piece.

The text is a veritable hodgepodge of fabrications. It makes a feeble attempt to go after the reputation of five world-renowned consultancies, calling the auditors Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) “compromised”, as well as AlixPartners – the company that confirmed the whole of several billion levs left in the CorpBank books by the fugitive banker. Vassilev writes about a “Bulgarian-Russian mafia consortium”, omitting the fact that the only such partnership in this case is his with the pro-Kremlin oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, for whose benefit Vassilev tried to grab control of BTK in the secondary plundering of CorpBank assets. Naturally, the fugitive banker also jumps at the chance to drag the name of his main enemy into the mess – lawmaker and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski, whose legislative initiatives helped stop the secondary plundering of the lender engineered by Vassilev and his cronies in Bulgaria. Vassilev peddles a series of old lies about Peevski.

From allegations that the MP was involved in the “CorpBank affair” – a libel that has been disproven dozens of times, most recently by one of the most credible arbitration institutions in the world, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) based in the US capital Washington, which effectively confirmed that CorpBank operated as a pyramid – to the lie that Peevski had aspirations for controlling the military plant Dunarit. The lawmaker does not have such aspirations (something he has personally noted on several occasions). Furthermore, the military plant has truly been under someone’s illegitimate control for the past two years, but that someone is Tsvetan Vassilev’s Bulgarian partner Emiliyan Gebrev, who is syphoning off Dunarit (a plant servicing NATO orders) to benefit the fugitive banker and his Moscow patron Konstantin Malofeev. Vassilev obviously views facts as nothing more than nuisance, and this time his lies are even garnered with a reference to the 1958 film of the brilliant French comedian Louis de Funès Ni Vu Ni Connu (Neither Seen nor Recognised). That Vassielv is a caricature, there is no doubt, but a reference to another Louis de Funès film would suit him better – Faites sauter la banque! (Let’s Rob the Bank!).

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