Liechtenstein’s chief public prosecutor confirmed on October 1 2014 that an investigation into Tsvetan Vassilev, majority shareholder of Bulgaria’s Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank), has been launched in connection with suspected money laundering.
News agency Reuters quoted Liechtenstein chief public prosecutor Robert Wallner as saying that the investigation followed a report by a bank to the Financial Intelligence Unit, which had passed on the report to the prosecutor’s office.
Further details could not be given because inquiries were at an early stage, Wallner was quoted as saying.
On September 30, Bulgarian prosecutors confirmed that they had received an inquiry about Vassilev from Liechtenstein. Vassilev’s lawyer said that he had no knowledge about an investigation by Liechtenstein.
Vassilev is in Serbia pending the outcome of an extradition application by Bulgaria, which wants him to face charges of embezzling hundreds of millions of leva. Vassilev denies wrongdoing and has blamed a conspiracy against him.
Corpbank has been under special supervision, with its operations suspended, by central Bulgarian National Bank since June. A special audit commissioned by BNB is pending.
The earliest that Corpbank may re-open is November 22.
Reports in Bulgarian-language local media that Vassilev was also being investigated by Switzerland remain unconfirmed. Separate reports cited Bulgarian authorities as saying that there was no investigation by Switzerland.
(For full coverage of the CCB situation from The Sofia Globe, click here. Photo of Vassilev from his personal website, vassilev.bg)