The Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation (ACF) has launched the second part of its investigation The KTB Files: The Missing Names.
The episode titled The Initials D.P., shows how the documents of the investigation into the insolvency of Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) include many pieces of evidence, connecting Delyan Peevski, a member of Parliament, representing the Movement for Rights and Freedoms Party, to the activities of the insolvent bank. The documents in question complement documentation about lawns that media companies belonging to Peevski’s family had taken from KTB.
The video can be viewed here.
In order to conduct the investigation, ACF analyzed thousands of pages of evidence filed by the prosecution, specifically documents filed within pre-trial proceedings 92/2014 by the Sofia City Prosecution. Ivan Geshev, recently elected as Prosecutor General by the Supreme Judicial Council, has been the supervising prosecutor on the case.
Despite Mr. Geshev’s statements that the criminal scheme under investigation did not contain any documents linking MP Peevski and any of his companies to KTB, many pieces of evidence suggest that the opposite is true,” said Nikolay Staykov, co-founder of ACF and author of the investigation.
A number of letters, memos, and other documents issued by the directors of the bank mention not just the officially declared loans of the Peevski family, but also another list, referred to as “the companies of the family or the companies of D.P.”
“The discrepancy between Mr. Geshev’s statements and the information in the KTB documents seized by the prosecution raises questions not only regarding the supervising prosecutor’s statements, but also about whether the prosecution acted in good faith in the past five years to conduct an objective, thorough and far-reaching investigation,” said Mr. Staykov.
The list of more than 20 companies related to “the group D.P.” and closely monitored by the KTB directors in the months just prior to the bank’s closure, contains companies with rich experience of winning lucrative public contracts. In one of the documents seized by the prosecution – a work chart outlining the bank’s assets and liabilities – the sum BGN 575 million is mentioned adjacent to the initials D.P.1. Yet, no steps have been taken by the prosecution – for example a witness interrogation or new pre-trial proceedings – in a bid to gather information to follow-up on the above clues.
It cannot go unnoticed that in the course of the proceedings, the prosecution acted to find out the identities of only the fist level of KTB borrowers. Minimal effort was dedicated to investigating any related companies and find out who were the real beneficiaries of these loans.
“What is particularly concerning is that those same persons were getting involved – via media support or political influence through the parliamentary quotas in the Supreme Judicial Council – in the recent procedure to select Bulgaria’s new Prosecutor General,” said Mr. Staykov.
The volumes of investigation files contain many documents concerning the privatization of Bulgartabak Holding AD. The tobacco holding and its related companies were among KTB’s most important clients. The link between KTB and one of the least transparent privatization deals in Bulgaria’s recent history is clear and straightforward. The privatization deal was a much-discussed topic with a large number of media investigations and interviews with related parties raising suspicions of hidden political influence and ties. To this day, the real owner of the company, which already enjoys generous credits from the Bulgarian Development Bank, is unknown.
“Our investigation raises a number of serious questions: about the work of the prosecution, the banking system, about ties between politicians, high-level officials and representatives of large companies,” said Boyko Stankushev, director of ACF. “The manner in which public institutions and the political elite will react in the aftermath of our investigations will show their willingness or lack thereof to take up real steps to fight corruption.”
ACF will continue its investigation into this topic.