More than 1000 highly valuable coins, mostly gold, from the collection of Corporate Commercial Bank majority shareholder Tsvetan Vassilev are going to the National History Museum, following the transfer of more than 300 precious paintings to the museum, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said on January 19.
Vassilev is currently in Serbia and is to face extradition proceedings in connection with serious criminal charges regarding the bank, the licence of which was withdrawn by central Bulgarian National Bank in late 2014. Vassilev denies wrongdoing.
The transfer of the coins to the museum will take place under strict security measures, with the coins being transported in heavily-guarded armoured cars.
The collection includes coins with portraits of emperors Napoleon III and of Franz Joseph, a Roman solidus of 310g, a Russian 1902 coin denominated 37.5 roubles, and a 1933 Double Eagle, a United States 20-dollar gold coin.
Others in the collection include a series of gold sovereigns from the British Empire on five continents series from the early 20th century, a Chinese series, and rare and valuable series issued by the Vatican, including depictions of the Last Supper and a series – issued in a limited edition of 500 – of popes from Pius IX to John Paul II. Other commemorative coins include a Soviet series dedicated to what the Kremlin called the Great Patriotic War (generally known elsewhere as World War 2) and coins dedicated to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
There are also Bulgarian commemorative coins, including from the time of Tsar Ferdinand.
National History Museum head Bozhidar Dimitrov said that special binders were being prepared in which to store the coins.
Prime Minister Boiko Borissov told Bulgaria’s National Assembly on January 16 that the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security were seeking Corporate Commercial Bank assets abroad worth about a billion leva. The assistance of prosecutor’s offices in other countries was being sought in the search, Borissov said.
On January 6, the process began of moving about 300 valuable paintings from Corporate Commercial Bank’s headquarters to the National History Museum.
The paintings include works by renowned Bulgarian artists such as Zlatu Boyadzhiev. A commission from the Culture Ministry was to come up with a formal evaluation of the worth of the paintings, the ministry said at the time.
Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov said that it was up to the prosecutor’s office and the court to say what would become of the paintings.
For The Sofia Globe’s full coverage of the CCB situation, please click here.