CCB majority shareholder Vassilev decries ‘massed campaign’ against him
The majority shareholder of Bulgaria’s Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), Tsvetan Vassilev, said in a statement on July 11 that he was the subject of a “massed, targeted and extremely manipulative campaign”.
In a phone interview with Bulgarian channel bTV, Vassilev said that he intended to return to Bulgaria “in the coming days” to clear his name.
Earlier in the day, the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) announced the results of the audit into CCB’s assets after the bank was put under the central bank’s special supervision. BNB claimed auditors found missing paperwork and that Vassilev withdrew, via a third-party, 205.9 million leva (about 105 million euro) in cash from the bank a day before it was put under BNB administration.
Prosecutors announced that they detained two CCB officials who authorised and carried out the cash withdrawal, and said that they were preparing an international arrest warrant for Vassilev.
In a statement sent to Bulgarian media, Vassilev said that “in recent months, I have been the subject of a massed, targeted and extremely manipulative campaign that has spread to everything associated with my name. The main target of the unprecedented pressure from media, directed by certain circles, is the Corporate Commercial Bank.”
(Vassilev does not clarify who the “certain circles” are, but it could be a reference to the recent public fallout between Vassilev and controversial MP Delyan Peevski.)
“The peak of this campaign was today’s BNB news conference, which only proves the conspiratorial scenario to destroy confidence in the bank and the sale for a pittance of the assets financed by the bank,” Vassilev said.
He says that the only proof cited by BNB is missing paperwork, which, he claims, is held by law enforcement authorities.
“Whose order are you carrying out, mister governor? Is it not odd that you did not defend your deputy governor when he was accused before any evidence has been collected? Is this how you defend the independence of one of the oldest institutions of the democratic society in Bulgaria?” Vassilev said, referring to the investigation of BNB deputy governor in charge of bank supervision, Tsvetan Gounev, who is alleged to have failed to exercise proper oversight.
Vassilev accused BNB governor Ivan Iskrov of “not allowing shareholders to find a working business solution for CCB”. He says he could not have been given the 205.9 million leva in cash, as claimed by BNB, because he has been outside Bulgaria since June 10.
“Concerning the institutions that contributed or did not act in this situation, we will speak with them in court,” he said.
(Tsvetan Vassilev photo from his personal website, vassilev.bg)