A high court in Belgrade has decided it was outside its competence to rule on Bulgaria’s request to extradite Tsvetan Vassilev, the former majority shareholder in Bulgaria’s Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), reports in Serbian media said on July 26.
The reports did not indicate what were the grounds for the court’s decision, which dates back to July 10. The same court had previously ruled, on two separate occasions, to extradite Vassilev, but the rulings were overturned on appeal, most recently in April.
The court’s decision, ironically, can be appealed in the same court that overturned the earlier extradition rulings. Should its decision be allowed to stand, it was unclear who would have to rule on the extradition request.
Vassilev is wanted in connection to the investigation into the collapse of CCB in 2014. The investigation, which ended in February, resulted in charges against 18 individuals, with prosecutors filing the formal lawsuit earlier this month.
CCB, Bulgaria’s fourth largest lender before it was put under special supervision by the central bank in June 2014, had its banking licence repealed by the Bulgarian National Bank in November 2014 after it had to had to write down 4.22 billion leva in impaired assets following an audit.
Bulgarian authorities have been trying to secure Vassilev’s extradition for more than two years, having filed an extradition request in September 2014.
(For full coverage of the CCB situation from The Sofia Globe, click here. Photo of Vassilev from his personal website, vassilev.bg)