Investigators question Peevski over allegations by Protest Network, ‘murder plot’ against him
The Sofia Investigation Service questioned controversial figure Delyan Peevski for some hours on June 16 in connection with allegations against him in a dossier submitted by the anti-government Protest Network and in regard to a separate case in which there is alleged to have been a murder plot against him.
In late February, the Protest Network handed to the Prosecutor-General’s office, with copies to other state institutions, a dossier based on media reports containing various allegations, and called for an investigation into Peevski, Corporate Commercial Bank majority shareholder Tsvetan Vassilev and Nikolai Barekov, the former talk show host and TV7 executive around whom the Bulgaria Without Censorship party was formed some months ago.
In recent days, three men were arrested and appeared in court in connection with an alleged conspiracy to assassinate Peevski last month. Sofia City Court released them without bail, reportedly saying that there was no evidence for the charges, in a decision that prosecutors are taking on appeal to the Sofia Appeal Court.
Speaking to reporters after being questioned, Peevski – whose controversial status arises from his family connection to a media house and whose abortive appointment in June 2013 as head of the State Agency for National Security sparked nationwide protests – declined to say whether his life had been threatened and who had threatened it.
He expressed hope that the investigation would take its course.
Peevski described the Protest Network – a body that arose during the protests against his SANS appointment – was a corporate organisation serving the interests of Ivo Prokopiev. This is a reference to a Razgrad-born businessman who owns a local media house as well as other business interests.
According to Peevski, the lawyer who defended Georgi Hristov, one of the men alleged by prosecutors to have been involved in murder plot against him, was a close friend of a person who is not in Bulgaria. Peevski declined to identify this person and invited reporters to think for themselves.
Peevski declined to comment on his relations with CCB’s Vassilev.
Last week, prosecutors and police carried out a large-scale raid on a building in Sofia, in what was initially reported to be an investigation into CCB and TV7. However, in separate statements, CCB and TV7 both denied being subjects of the investigation, and later the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement confirming an investigation into several companies, underlining that these did not include banks or media houses.
As part of the search-and-seizure operation, six people from the CCB management were questioned. CCB said that they were not suspects and provided investigators with information that could easily have been found online.
Vassilev was not questioned during the course of the investigation. He was reported to not be in Bulgaria.
At a special news conference on June 16, responding to reports about last week’s questioning of senior CCB officials, executive director Georgi Hristov said that the prosecution authority and those who control it “had benefited from the whole show”.
Hristov, responding to allegations published in the Bulgarian-language media that Vassilev had ordered Peevski killed, said: “Who kills his debtor? That is just ridiculous”.
There were tensions between Vassilev and Peevski over debts owed by companies not formally related to Peevski but widely perceived as being linked to them, going by the statements by Hristov.