More than five years after the bankruptcy of Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), there are more unanswered than answered questions about the case.
The Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation (ACF) has analyzed thousands of pages from the evidence materials presented by the Prosecutor’s Office before the Specialized Criminal Court, where the case concerning the draining of the bank’s funds is being heard. The defendants are the bank owner, Mr. Tzvetan Vassilev, and 17 other persons. There is evidence that the Prosecutor’s Office has separated 20 pre-trial proceedings from the main case, but the supervising prosecutor, Ivan Geshev, has consistently denied disclosing any information on them for the past five-and-a-half years.
In order to protect the public interest, ACF has decided to publish the results of its analysis in the investigative documentary “The KTB Files: Missing Names.” The first episode, available from today , looks at the connection between KTB’s bankruptcy and the failure of the South Stream gas pipeline project.
“The investigation and exposure of corrupt practices surrounding the KTB case is key for upholding the Bulgarian people’s trust in the judicial system and the administration of justice as a whole,” said Boyko Stankushev, director of ACF.
According to ACF, the need to examine all the factors that led to the bankruptcy is paramount, as this is the most serious corruption case not just for the year, but since the period of bank failures in 1997.
“If we miss this unique opportunity to cast light on the political and economic relationships at the highest echelons of power, including business relations on the verge of legality or outside the scope of the law, this will be more than a mere omission – it will be a sin against the very ideas of democracy and the rule of law”, Mr. Stankushev added.
Nikolay Staykov, co-founder of ACF and author of the KTB investigation, lists the need for an expert and public assessment as one of its main goals: “did the Prosecutor’s Office conduct an objective, comprehensive, and detailed investigation.”
“Five-and-a-half years after the Prosecutor’s Office began investigating the insolvency of KTB, we have one “megacase” and a set of charges submitted before the Specialized Court, as well as a number of separate pre-trial proceedings, about which the Prosecutor’s Offices denies any information,” Mr Staykov said. “One of the goals of this investigation is answer to the question whether the investigation is lead in an impartial or biased manner, since the documentation on the case mentions that many public figures were somehow involved in the case.”
The investigation continues.