The messy break-up of the business relationship between banker Tsvetan Vassilev and controversial MP Delyan Peevski continues to play itself out, with Bulgaria’s prosecutor’s office closing its investigation into the alleged murder attempt on Peevski and opening a new one – this time, into allegations that Vassilev was the target of a hit.
Media reports, quoting sources familiar with the investigation inside the prosecution, said on June 24 that the prosecutor’s office would close the investigation into allegations that Vassilev ordered Peevski’s murder.
Three people had been briefly detained in connection with the investigation, only to be released by the Sofia City Court, a decision that prosecutors later decided not to appeal. Prosecutor-general Sotir Tsatsarov later said that there was no evidence of a plot to murder Peevski.
Instead, the prosecutor’s office would now investigate Vassilev’s claims that he was to be murdered on Peevski orders – allegations that first surfaced on June 23, with an official claim now lodged with prosecutors.
Vassilev claims to have received a threatening text message from Peevski, a charge that the latter denied on June 24, when he was questioned for by investigators for the second time in two weeks.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Peevski said that he has had no relationship with Vassilev for the past several months. Peevski said that the business relationship soured after Vassilev asked for the support of the media owned by Peevski’s family to become prime minister.
(Peevski’s mother sold her media holdings earlier this year, although critics on social media have questioned whether the deal was a legitimate one or done only for appearances’ sake.)
Vassilev is reportedly in Vienna and is yet to be questioned by Bulgarian investigators.
Peevski and Vassilev previously were seen as having close business relations, with the latter’s Corporate Commercial Bank reportedly lending the money for the acquisition of several newspapers by Peevski’s family.
Vassilev, who was interviewed in Vienna by a Bulgarian TV station last week, did not give a direct answer when asked about the reason for the falling-out with Peevski, saying that their break-up was caused not so much by economic reasons, rather by “bad practices” that involved companies controlled by Peevski (as an MP, Peevski cannot own companies or participate in their management).
The immediate reason that caused the highly-public spat between the two, however, appears to be a struggle over control of the former state tobacco monopoly Bulgartabac, reports in Bulgarian media said.
(The Justice Palace in Sofia. Photo: Klearchos Kapoutsis/flickr.com)