The National Revenue Agency is to conduct full tax audits of Delyan Peevski, Tsvetan Vassilev and Nikolai Barekov in response to allegations in a dossier submitted to the office of the Prosecutor-General by Bulgaria’s anti-government Protest Network.
Peevski is the Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP whose abortive appointment as head of the State Agency for National Security in June 2013 sparked protests demanding the resignation of the government. Vassilev is majority shareholder in Corporate Commercial Bank. Barekov is a former television talk show host, around whom the “Bulgaria Without Censorship” (BWC) party has been formed.
After the Protest Network submitted the 17-page dossier on February 25, including media reports of allegations that the network called on prosecutors to follow up, the Prosecutor-General’s office said on February 26 that there would be full tax investigations of the three men.
Information will be requested from several institutions, including the National Audit Office, central Bulgarian National Bank, the Interior Ministry, the State Agency for National Security, the State Commission on Information Security and the Registry Agency.
There will be tax checks on other individuals and related companies.
The allegations in the dossier cover a number of points, including alleged discrepancies between Peevski’s declared and actual property ownership status, influence-peddling, violations of the procedure for clearance to access to classified information, suspected breach of national security and violations of banking law in loans granted by Vassilev’s bank. The dossier also raised the issue of the source of funding of the BWC party.
The allegations in the dossier submitted by the Protest Network were met with denials on the part of Peevski, Barekov and Vassilev.
Peevski and Barekov dismissed the allegations as part of systematic attempts to discredit them.
Peevski said that the reason for the campaign against him was investigative reports by media owned by his mother, Irina Krasteva, regarding President Rossen Plevneliev and Ivo Prokopiev, the latter the owner of a Bulgarian-language publishing firm, Economedia.
Barekov also named Plevneliev and Prokopiev.
Corporate Commercial Bank issued a statement flatly rejecting all the allegations and saying that the representatives of the Protest Network had misled the public with false and biased information.
The capital structure of the bank was clear and transparent, the bank said, and Peevski and Barekov had no part in it.
Corporate Commercial Bank and Vassilev were considering legal action against those who authored and submitted the dossier, “undermining the prestige and reputation of the bank,” the bank’s statement said.
(Photo of Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov: BNT)