More than 3 years ago, in January 2019, the scandal “Alo Banov” broke. This was another link in the chain of scandals that invariably accompanied the 12-year regime of Borisovism in Bulgaria. Even if we count only the “gate” related to eavesdropping, the list is quite long: “Hello Vanyo“, “Misho the Beer“, “You chose him“, “Yaneva Gate“, “TZUMgate“, “To smash his face“, “Bratiño“…. Only the more famous ones are. However, there are common factors between all of them – and they are as follows:
- Borisov or some of his immediate branches/outgrowth (especially Sotir Tsatsarov) were always involved.
- The prosecutor’s office always loudly launched an investigation.
- In the end, the investigation quietly and inevitably fell asleep.
- There was never, nowhere or for anything.
František and Dukova – heroes of the quiet front
There were no consequences in general for the characters involved in “Alo Banov” – incl. and for the two responsible ministers, Rashidov and Banov. The motives with which the DISPUTE then refused to initiate pre-trial proceedings border on schizophrenia. In the first place in this case unleashed not just anyone, but personally Dimitar Frantisek – who only a few months later in 2019 got all the way in the raider-thieving scheme “The Eight Dwarfs“. Then, at the second instance in the ASA, a second
followed – as the prosecutor who decreed it was Bilyana Dukova. She, in turn, is best known for appearing under the measures for remand of OCG Tsenko Chokov, as well as those of the mayor of the Northern District in Plovdiv Ralyo Ralev. Apropos, the case against Chokov is still pending in the Supreme Court of Cassation, while the case against Ralev never went to court, despite his inexplicably luxurious lifestyle. Otherwise, there is no evidence that Dukova has reached a conviction in any case on the merits. Apparently, its strength lies in NOT investigating. As can be seen from the decree on “Alo Banov” – as far as it is a masterpiece of legal thought. In it, Mrs. Dukova points out mainly two motives – one more brilliant than the other. First, the recording was not original, but a copy. Therefore, although there was no (!) data for manipulation and installation, it might not be authentic. Smart, isn’t it?! Second, all participants in the recording upon questioning
saying what was heard on the recording. They have to incriminate themselves. A small but important detail, however, is that it is one thing to perjure yourself at the stage of preliminary verification (who cares) – but quite another at the stage of pre-trial proceedings. Where perjury is already a secondary crime. Of course, prosecutor Bilyana only led a probe. Comfortable, isn’t it?
All this is strikingly reminiscent of the Borisov recordings from the summer of 2020, where Borisov irrigationly threatened how / whom he would burn and to whom he would smear the face. The behavior of the casketure then was identical – we will not make an examination of the recording, because those involved deny that they have said such things. Involved: Borisov, Tsatsarov, Geshev. We leave the conclusions to you, dear readers.
For 12 million
At the same time, however, the saga around the Largo and “Alo Banov” has another very important aspect. Namely, the financial correction imposed on the Ministry of Culture (MK) by the Operational Program Regions in Growth (OPRD). The correction is one hundred percent for the entire value of the unfortunate repair of the Largo – amounting to BGN 12 million. BIRD secured access to the OPRG decision to enforce the correction. In addition, we followed how the court case on the appeal by the MC of the imposed correction is developing. It’s not rosy, to put it mildly. In the following lines we will introduce you to the development of this drama-for-many-millions.
First of all, the case in which MK appealed the imposed correction is to below the curve pear. Filed in August 2021, the case was stopped at the end of April with a very interesting motive – we will wait for the prosecutor’s office. The standard, familiar matrix – gentlemen the caps are investigating, so you see, we have no right to decide the administrative case before the investigation is completed. Of course, it may never end. Or to end shortly before (or about) the Second Coming. Or to end after the expiration of the absolute limitation period for engaging the liability of Banov and Rashidov. Perhaps only a janitor in the Ministry will remain guilty. For example, for the Hemus highway,
turned out to be an unfortunate homeless man who withdrew over BGN 18 million in cash in bags – after which he moved to a better world.
The problem, indeed, is that the casketure initiated this pre-trial proceedings more than 3 years ago – and that, of course, in Geshevu’s beloved special prosecutor’s office. The subject of this pre-trial, it can be seen, is the theft of the 12 million leva in question – yet paradoxically Banov himself was laundered and a refusal of pre-trial (as we pointed out above) was ordered. What exactly happened in those 3+ years and if anything happens, the devil knows. Geshev also knows, as does Madzharova – but they refuse to say. Familiar, don’t ask that you annoy us. Just like with Barcelonagate, where for 4 months SP has not been able to translate the materials sent from Spain. And yet Spanish is not one of the most difficult languages, is it?
In order to dissipate the fog at least, BIRD consulted its sources in the prosecutor’s office. Here’s what we found out. It was only at the end of last year that the special prosecutor’s office requested disclosure of the tax secrecy of the companies involved in the construction. Why this was not done earlier remains an unanswered question. Especially taking into account other information that BIRD is getting to – at the end of 2019 investigators from the specialized Ministry of Interior Directorate ZFIES (Protection of the EU’s Financial Interests) began to actively delve into the case with the “Largo”. And what the prosecutors did between December 2019 and December 2021 is not clear. Apparently, the fact that OLAF has stepped up on the subject in the meantime has made them move.
Also unanswered remains the clarification from our sources that the tax secrecy of all construction companies has not been raised, but only of some. Maybe in other companies there are our people who should not be touched. Either way, the case for the BGN 12 million will now remain comfortably frozen while the prosecution supposedly investigates. A separate but key issue is that administrative violations also have a statute of limitations. It turned out that by the time the gentlemen the caps brought the case to court (if they brought it at all), the statute of limitations expired. Especially in view of the fact that the special prosecutor’s office has already been closed – and the closure comes into force in 2 months. Now the pre-trial proceedings will have to go to the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, where (God forbid) to start all over again. We have yet to see. Here is also the time to ask the rhetorical question why the legal advisers of OPRD have not appealed the suspension of the case in the ACSC. Apparently, they are not in a hurry to collect their money from the unfortunate “Largo”. Which is really unfortunate.
As we wrote above, BIRD received access to documents that shed some more light on the work of the Ministry of Interior and the case. For example, from a resolution of Valentina Madzharova (the head of the SP) we understand that according to materials from the Ministry of Interior, in August 2021, file 1732/2021 was formed. However, this file was quickly terminated only 4 months later with a refusal to form a DP. KPKONPI also played a role here, currently headed by Tsatsarov’s right hand – Anton Slavchev. The gentleman who got the nickname Tony Baloni was one of the central characters in #Apartmentgate, as you can recall here and here
on the contrary). So KPKONPI checked something (unclear what), then reported it to the anonymous (as always) supervising prosecutor from the SP, who in turn crushed the file on the signal of the Ministry of Interior. At the same time, another file remains active, on which it is still not very clear what is happening. In general – fog and rahat (in the words of the unforgettable “face” of the SJC Mitko Vibara). However, the second file is sufficient reason to freeze the case in the ACSC indefinitely. Which seems to suit everyone.
OLAF and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office
Overall, however, it is not very clear why the SP continues to investigate the Largo one year after the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). After 1 June 2021, EPPO has exclusive jurisdiction and competence to investigate misuse of EU funds on the territory of Bulgaria. At the same time, an OLAF official document dated 22.12.2020 makes it clear the opinion of the Largo Office – namely that at least EUR 5 million has been misappropriated. It automatically follows that the JV was obliged to transfer the investigation to the delegated European Prosecutors. According to our information, this has not been done to this day. From which we can draw a reasonable conclusion that the conspiracy obviously reaches very high, far above Rashidov and Banov. Maybe it goes all the way to a drawer in Bankya, who knows. We don’t know yet. The D.A.’s knowing, but he’s quiet. And a “corner” of the case with himself – instead of handing it over to the competent EPPO. Somewhere “inside” there was someone who needed to be guarded. And whether this person lives in Bankya remains a mystery for now. Because if he lives, the SP is the surest guarantee that #ТОЙ will be protected and parasmodized forever. Unless EPPO just broke the velchka, sorry boykov, conspiracy.
Unfortunately, it remains a mystery whether anyone will ever restore these 12 million leva to the budget. As far as Bulgaria has already been forced to return the money to Brussels, the question now on the agenda is whether the state budget will receive something from the construction companies (or elsewhere). Judging by the writing above, he would rather not receive a penny. Just like with the vaudeville with the mother-in-law, which we analyzed recently in another
of ours. Pito-paid, who stole – stole (such as Karaday). We won’t take it from him – the money sank, forget it. Is the Attorney General investigating, investigating… At most after some five-year plans, a janitor in the MK will receive a two-year suspended sentence. Just like in the “big
in high corruption”, Zhivko Sudjuka from GERB, which Geshev recently timidly boasted of.
Perhaps the only chance to return some money is as soon as EPPO to seize the investigation from the native case. Moreover, in view of the already launched
on amendments to the JSA, which ensures full operational, budgetary and physical autonomy of the delegated prosecutors (despite Geshev’s explicit resistance). Refracted through the prism of criminal prosecution, the limitation period for these stolen 12 million is significantly extended. However, recently we had occasion to make sure that EPPO seems to be working on Kövesi’s motto since the time and in DNA – “trace and return the money“. The reason for this was
imposed by the European Delegated Prosecutors on construction equipment around Hemus worth 6 million euros. Coincidentally or not, just as much as the 12 million leva from “Alo Banov”. A foreclosure imposed despite the outright sabotage (again!) of Geshev, as you can recall in this
of ours. So, in summary, we would say the following: Kovesi’s approach “trace and return the money ” clashes with Geshev’s methodology: “slow down, sweep, forget“. In the name of the state financial interest, we can only hope that Geshev’s methodology will soon go to the dustbin of history – and to the most stinking section. Barabbar with his father. In other words, “God, put your Instrument away!”
Щом сте стигнали дотук, вероятно вече си задавате въпроса как се финансира този журналистически проект.
От създаването си BIRD се финансираше от подаяния в нашето журналистическо чекмедже.
Но на чекмеджето му мина времето. Даже прокуратурата затвори онова Чекмедже, знаете кое…
Нашето финансиране влиза в крак с епохата. Фондонабиращата ни кампания вече се казва
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Мятай, за да ги накажеш ти. Да дариш за разследващите журналисти е гаранция, че гадостите, с които силните на деня те замерят, ще им се върнат.
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