Bulgarian prosecutors seize Vassilev’s artworks from Corporate Commercial Bank
Bulgarian prosecutors have confiscated close to 300 paintings, including valuable works by some of the country’s most prominent artists, from the central Sofia headquarters of Corporate Commercial Bank.
The paintings, reportedly owned by CCB majority shareholder Tsvetan Vassilev – currently in Serbia pending an extradition application so that he can face serious criminal charges in connection with the bank, which in late 2014 had its licence withdrawn and is facing bankruptcy proceedings – could be used in evidence in Vassilev’s trial.
The paintings are to be stored at the National Art Gallery in the Bulgarian capital city, by arrangement with the Ministry of Culture.
A commission of the Ministry of Culture is to draft an expert opinion on the artworks at the request of the Supreme Cassation Prosecution. The opinion is required to establish the monetary value of the paintings.
The works reportedly include paintings by Ivan Markvichka and Zlatyu Boyadzhiev.
The confiscation of the artworks on January 6 took place under a provision of Bulgarian law that allows the prosecution to arrange special safekeeping of evidence.
Unconfirmed reports in the Bulgarian-language media said that the works could eventually go to the “Bulgarian Louvre” art museum complex planned for Sofia.
Reports alleged that the artworks were part of the investigation because the origin of the money used to purchase them was unclear.
Vassilev, who was out of the country at the time that central Bulgarian National Bank placed Corporate Commercial Bank under special supervision in June 2014, denies wrongdoing.
Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court is to hold its next hearing on February 9 2015 in the case appealing against Bulgarian National Bank’s decision to strip CCB of its licence.
For full coverage of the CCB situation from The Sofia Globe, click here.
(Tsvetan Vassilev photo from his personal website, vassilev.bg)