Bulgaria’s asset forfeiture commission said on March 17 that it filed a lawsuit against Tsvetan Vassilev, the former majority shareholder in the insolvent Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), seeking to recoup 2.2 billion leva in assets.
The lawsuit, filed on February 29 with the Sofia City Court, names Vassilev, members of his family and companies linked to Vassilev as defendants. The list included 27 people and corporate entities.
The asset forfeiture commission’s head, Plamen Georgiev, told reporters that the commission had identified assets worth 1.42 billion leva, which it asked the court to confiscate. This included stakes in companies owned by Vassilev, real estate property both in Bulgaria and Switzerland, money held in bank accounts, as well as Vassilev’s paintings and coins collection.
Georgiev said it was the largest lawsuit ever pursued by the asset forfeiture commission.
In December, the commission said that it obtained court orders impounding assets worth 603.7 million leva held by Vassilev and his immediate family. At the time, it said that the assets would serve as collateral in its confiscation lawsuit, which it estimated, at that point, to be worth 963 million leva.
Vassilev, who is currently fighting extradition from Serbia, has been charged with the embezzlement of 206 million leva from CCB, which was declared insolvent last year. He denies wrongdoing and has accused controversial media mogul and MP Delyan Peevski of orchestrating the bank’s downfall – prompted by a run on deposits in June 2014, followed by being put under central bank administration and an audit that found CCB was holding mostly impaired assets.
The government had to lend the state deposit guarantee fund about two billion leva to cover the payout of all guaranteed deposit claims, worth 3.7 billion leva. The fund has also hired a consultant to advise it on recovering money from the lender.
(For full coverage of the CCB situation from The Sofia Globe, click here. Photo of Vassilev from his personal website, vassilev.bg)