Bulgaria’s anti-government Protest Network have lodged at the Prosecutor-General’s a 17-page dossier on Delyan Peevski, Nikolai Barekov and Tsvetan Vassilev, asking for allegations in it to be followed up.
Peevski is a member of Parliament for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and scion of a media-owning family. It was his abortive appointment as head of the State Agency for National Security in June 2013 that was the catalyst for continuing protests demanding the resignation of the government in which the Bulgarian Socialist Party holds the mandate.
Barekov is a former television talk show host around whom the “Bulgaria Without Censorship” (BWC) political party has been formed. Vassilev is the majority shareholder in Corporate Commercial Bank and is alleged in anti-government circles to exercise undue influence in Bulgarian public life.
The Protest Network said that it based the report lodged at Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov’s office on media reports.
The allegations in the dossier, signed by 13 people, are connected to trading in influence and possible money laundering, as well as allegations of discrepancies between the officially declared incomes of Peevski and his actual financial state.
Other issues raised include the financing of BWC, and the use of property in Bulgaria and abroad with a publicly unidentified offshore owner. A further allegation involves Peevski having had access to classified information in breach of the law.
The dossier also raises the issue of loans by Vassilev’s bank.
Copies of the dossier were to be sent to President Rossen Plevneliev, the European Commission and embassies of countries of all partner services of the State Agency for National Security, the Protest Network said.
The Protest Network said that handing the dossier to the Prosecutor-General was part of the “Operation Clean Hands” that they announced in autumn 2013 to clean up Bulgarian public life.
They said that the dossier was prepared with the assistance of journalists, NGOs and lawyers.
“The information is taken from media reports, and we, citizens and journalists, expected that the prosecution would take action by following these up. This has not happened. Submitting this alert is the next step,” Nikolay Staykov, co-ordinator of the anti-government information website, told local media.
The request to prosecutors was to examine the allegations in the dossier and check them to establish whether there were any indictable offences.
In the first few hours after the dossier was handed to the Prosecutor’s office, there was no immediate reaction from Peevski or Vassilev. Peevski, in past media interviews, has described himself as a successful young man who is targeted by those jealous of this success and who is at the receiving end of a campaign to demonise him. Separately, Vassilev generally has carefully protected his reputation and that of his bank, in particular taking care to reject as untrue claims of links between himself and the media group owned by Peevski’s family or any suggestion of impropriety in relations between his bank and the state.
Barekov told local media that the Protest Network “had become the advocate of the oligarchy”.
He said that his party’s own proposed “Clean Hands” legislation would be tabled in Parliament in 10 days: “We are the only ones with the will to do so”.
Expressing indignation at the dossier handed to the Prosecutor-General’s office, Barekov said that “all these circuses fuelled by (Economedia owner Ivo) Prokopiev, (GERB leader Boiko) Borissov and Plevneliev will stop foreign investment coming to Bulgaria”.
BWC would “stop this outrage” after winning the elections, according to Barekov. “All politicians who have broken the law will lie in prison,” he said.
BWC was founded as a party after the May 2013 elections. Barekov is on record as seeing himself as a future prime minister, while various opinion polls suggest that were elections to be held, BWC would be a minority party. The party has recruited to its side three MPs in the 42nd National Assembly, two from GERB and one from the Bulgarian Socialist Party-led Coalition for Bulgaria parliamentary caucus.
(Photos of Staykov and the receipt stamp via the Facebook page of the Protest Network)