Delyan Peevski

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Delyan Peevski
Personal details
Born (1980-07-27) 27 July 1980 (age 36)
Sofia, Bulgaria
Nationality Bulgarian
Political party DPS
Profession Lawyer

Delyan Slavchev Peevski (Bulgarian: Делян Славчев Пеевски) (born 27 July 1980) is a Bulgarian lawyer, entrepreneur, media mogul and politician. He serves as MP from the parliamentary group of the DPS in the 41st and 42nd National Assembly. Along with his mother, Irena Krasteva, Peevski owns print and TV media outlets. The official owner of such is only Krasteva, who is also co-owner of the largest printing company in Bulgaria - IPK "Rodina".[1]

Peevski graduated from 119 SOU in Sofia in 1998 and completed his legal studies at the South-West University in 2003.[2]

According to Radio Bulgaria in March 2016, Peevski is "the undisputed media mogul of Bulgaria." He owns more than 20 newspapers, TV channels, radio stations and magazines.[3]

Political career[edit]

In 2001, Peevski joined the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII). He has been a member of DPS since 2009.[4] In 2007, he was fired as a deputy minister during the Socialist-led government in a corruption scandal. He was investigated, but the investigation was dropped and he was given his job back.[5]

In June 2013, Peevski was elected President of the State Agency for National Security, with the votes of 116 MPs.[6] Thousands of Bulgarians gathered in front of government headquarters in Sofia to protest Peevski’s appointment, chanting "Mafia" and "resign."[5] Under the pressure of the protests against the Oresharski cabinet that followed, Parliament unanimously revised its decision later the same month.[7] The case became widely known in the entire European Union.

After a couple of months of lack of clarity whether under these conditions Peevski was still considered an MP or not, eventually in December 2013 the Constitutional Court decided that he still was an MP.[8]

In May 2014, Peevski was elected to the European Parliament on the MRF ticket,[9] but immediately thereafter decided to give up his seat. He explained that his motivation to participate in the European elections, while not taking his seat, had been to restore his reputation.[10][11]

In mid June 2014, three people were arrested due to their involvement in an alleged murder plot against Peevski, but they were eventually released because of a lack of sufficient evidence.[12][13] The Bulgarian prosecution service arrested innocent men and put them on TV, presenting them as people hired by Corpbank owner Tzvetan Vassilev. On the same day that the three innocent men were paraded on Bulgarian TV as supposed murderers hired by Vassilev, the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office raided offices affiliated with Corporate Commercial Bank,[14] the fourth largest bank and one of the most successful banks in Bulgaria.

Privatization Controversies[edit]

Between 2010 and 2013, Delyan Peevski worked in tandem with Tsvetan Vasilev, then the owner of Corporate Commercial Bank, to privatize many of the remaining state assets. The director of the Bulgarian Privatization Agency Emil Karanikolov was a close protege of the two. Under his administration, the assets of state companies Bulgartabac, Technoexportstroi, IPK Rodina, Putno Stroitelstvo Holding and a dozen other smaller factories ended up in Delyan Peevski's hands.

Role in Corporate Commercial Bank closure[edit]

In June 2014, a panic caused a run on Corporate Commercial Bank ("CorpBank") in Bulgaria.[14] According to Politico, the panic "appears to have been triggered when Delyan Peevski … pulled out massive amounts of money from Corporate Commercial Bank."[15] The run resulted in the bank being taken over by the Bulgaria National Bank (the country's central bank). At the time media reports said that the bank's closing was due to a dispute between bank owner Tzvetan Vassilev and Peevski. Vassilev told a Forbes reporter, "Delyan Peevski is simply one of the main tools that the Bulgarian political mafia uses to blackmail Bulgarian business—the visible part of a rather large iceburg of corruption."[14] By the visible part, Vassilev was referring to Peevski's media empire and Peevski's ability to use media assets such as newspapers and TV stations to create negative public opinion about the bank. Vassilev said that the political mafia had tried to "downgrade what happened to Corpbank to a personal conflict between Mr. Peevski and me, which is utterly untrue."[14]

"The claim that I had tried to organize Mr. Peevski's murder was subsequently disproved in court, but it was too late—more than 20% of CorpBank's assets were withdrawn in cash in the span of 4 days," Vassilev said.[14]

The run on CorpBank coincided with a run on another bank, First Investment Bank ("FI Bank"). Media reports and social media messages helped cause the run on both banks. However, the Bulgaria National Bank shut down CorpBank while keeping Fi Bank open with emergency liquidity. According to Nikolay Staykov of the Bulgarian Protest Network, CorpBank was brought down by the government in order to remove Vassilev, while the government protected FI Bank—the bank that Peevski moved his money into. "But as this whole affair is really a fight to the death between Vassilev and Peevski, it is hard not to conclude that Bulgarian institutions are partisan."[16] The Bulgarian judicial system and prosecutor's office are known to be corrupt and partisan, according to Forbes.[16]

"The removal of Vassilev from the scene leaves Peevski in effective control not only of Bulgarian media and secret services, but of its banking sector too. Such concentration of power is a cause for concern in a supposedly democratic country."[16]

Media and business empire[edit]

Protests of business relationship with government[edit]

In the summer of 2013, tens of thousands of Bulgarians protested daily in the streets demanding the resignation of the entire government due to questions about public trust. Peevski’s short-lived appointment as head of the national security agency was just one issue the protesters were angry about. A larger issue was the government’s reliance on "Mr. Peevski’s media group for survival," according to The Economist.[17]

Size and scope[edit]

As of 2013, Peevski's media empire controlled six of the 12 largest circulating newspapers. It also had a monopoly on newspaper distribution and digital TV channels.[17] By 2016, the number of newspapers he owned increased to more than 20.[18]

In 2016, he also owned several construction companies and was the owner of Bulgartabac, the biggest manufacturer and seller of tobacco and related products.[18] “The Turkish Financial Crime Investigation Board (MASAK) and the Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trade on their part accused Bulgartabac of being one of the biggest cigarette-smuggling entities in Turkey and of being closely allied to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK, which is on the European list of terrorist organizations,” according to Radio Bulgaria.[18]

Downfall[edit]

In early 2016, Peevski published a letter to the media where he said he would no longer start any new business projects in Bulgaria. He said his decision was due to an "ongoing 'smear' campaign" and political pressure.[18]

In an analysis, Radio Bulgaria said it was difficult to pinpoint why Peevski was downsizing his business empire. However, they wrote:[18]

"Still, some analysts say there is a connection between the shocks tearing across the Peevski conglomerate and the bankruptcy, two years ago, of the Corporate Commercial Bank with majority owner, Peevksi's own former business partner and friend Tsvetan Vasilev. There is ample evidence that it was precisely the crediting from that bank that helped Delyan Peevksi build his media empire, stone by stone, an empire that has been putting out tentacles into many other economic sectors and spheres. But the cheap (free?) financing is now gone and the media market is not particularly lucrative."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Кариерата на Делян Пеевски - депутат и медиен магнат
  2. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 221.
  3. ^ Daynova, Milena (2016-03-24). "Smoke billowing from Delyan Peevski's business empire". Retrieved 2017-01-30. 
  4. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 229.
  5. ^ a b Tsolova, Tsvetelia (2017-06-14). "Bulgarians protests over media magnate as security chief". Reuters. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  6. ^ It took just 15 minutes for Parliament to decide that Peevski should be head of the State Agency "National Security"
  7. ^ Peevski is no longer boss of the State Agency "National Security"
  8. ^ Constitutional Court decides that Peevski is MP
  9. ^ Резултати от избори за Европейски парламент 25.05.2014 г. за страната
  10. ^ Правен казус в ЦИК около отказите на Пеевски и Станишев от ЕП
  11. ^ ЦИК обяви 17-те избрани евродепутати, Пеевски е заличен от листата на ДПС
  12. ^ Съдът пусна на свобода тримата мъже, "готвили покушение" срещу Пеевски, магистратите взеха решението си в болницата, където от снощи лежи единият от обвинените
  13. ^ Пеевски: ако бях началник на съдебната власт, убийците ми нямаше да са на свобода. Депутатът от ДПС бе разпитан по сигнала на "Протестна мрежа" и за готвеното му покушение
  14. ^ a b c d e Coppola, Frances (2015-10-05). "Bulgaria's Failed Corpbank: The Former Owner's Story". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  15. ^ "Bulgaria calls early election". POLITICO. 2014-07-03. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  16. ^ a b c Coppola, Frances (2014-08-18). "The Bulgarian Banking Disaster". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  17. ^ a b "Breaking up with Peevski". The Economist. 2013-09-20. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Daynova, Milena (2016-03-24). "Smoke billowing from Delyan Peevski’s business empire". Radio Bulgaria. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 

Bibliography[edit]

Lilov, Grigor (2013). Най-богатите българи (1st ed.). Sofia: „Кайлас” ЕООД. ISBN 978-954-92098-9-1.