Majority shareholder of Bulgaria’s CCB surrenders to Serbian police – report
The majority shareholder in Bulgaria’s Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), Tsvetan Vassilev, wanted by Bulgarian prosecutors on suspicion of embezzling, has turned himself in to police in Belgrade, reports in Serbia said on September 16.
Bulgaria issued a European arrest warrant and put Vassilev on the Interpol wanted list in connection to an investigation into the withdrawal of 206 million leva (about 105.3 million euro) in cash from the bank between December 2011 and June 19 2014.
Serbian radio station B92 said that Vassilev turned himself in to Serbia’s criminal police at about 11am on September 16, accompanied by his lawyers. The report said that Serbian authorities received the notification that Vassilev was wanted by Bulgarian authorities on September 15.
Last week, B92 reported that Vassilev had been sighted in the town of Paracin, where he owns a large glass factory. At the time, Serbian interior minister Nebojsa Stefanovic told the radio station that he was not aware of any information that Vassilev was in Serbia, even though a statement by Vassilev’s lawyers a few days earlier claimed that was the case.
Vassilev will next face a Serbian court that will have to decide on whether to extradite him to Bulgaria. Last week, Bulgaria’s prosecutor’s office said that it could not speculate on any actions by the Serbian judiciary and that only Serbian courts could decide whether to grant the extradition request.
On September 12, Sofia City Court refused to hear the case brought by lawyers acting on behalf of Vassilev asking for a repeal of the arrest warrant issued in his name, ruling that it was premature and inadmissible.
Judge Ivan Koev said that legal provisions in cases to rescind arrest warrants were applicable only after the person in question has been detained, which was not the case with Vassilev. A report by the Bulgarian National Radio said that Vassilev’s lawyers would appeal the ruling in the Sofia Court of Appeals, with a hearing reportedly scheduled for September 18.
(For full coverage of the CCB situation from The Sofia Globe, click here. Tsvetan Vassilev photo from his personal website, vassilev.bg)