Tsvetan Vasilev

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Tzvetan Vassilev
Born (1959-08-12) August 12, 1959 (age 59)
Gabrovo, People's Republic of Bulgaria
Nationality Bulgarian
Alma mater University of National and World Economy
Occupation Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Corporate Commercial Bank AD
Years active 1985–present

Tsvetan Vasilev (also spelled Tzvetan Vassilev; Bulgarian: Цветан Василев; born 1959) is a former Bulgarian entrepreneur nowadays fugitive from the Bulgarian court. He was indicted for the embezzlement of billions of Corpbank with 17 other accompices but is now sued in absentia. The reason is that he refuses to stand before the Bulgarian court and hides in Belgrade Reuters reports. Besides being sued in Bulgaria for the Corpbank affair also known as the "Robbery of the century", he is being investigated in Serbia for deliberate bankruptcy of a glass factory in Parachin, financed by Corpbank while the bank was still under the control of Vassilev here. According to the Serbian publication "Blic" Vasilev is being investigated also by the Austrian authorities.

Allegations and Trial[edit]

The indictment for the siphoning off of Corporate Commercial Bank was filed by the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office on 20 July 2017, Nulgarian National TV reported here. All copies of the indictment include more than 210,000 pages. 18 persons have been indicted, including Tzvetan Vasssilev who is being sued as the mastermind of the organised crime group whoose activity syphoned off the bank. The charges pressed against the convicts exceed 5,000 pages. More than 400 witnesses have been interviewed. Over 90 expert’s reports have been prepared by 27 experts. The collected evidence is in 1,360 volumes. Amoong the indicted is the former deputy governor of Bulgaria’s central bank (BNB), Tzvetan Gounev, along with the former CEOs of the bank.

Years of Bloom[edit]

Vasilev is former Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Corporate Commercial Bank AD, the fifth bank in Bulgaria based on assets, which collapsed after a bank run in 2014.[1] as well as its majority shareholder.[2] Tsvetan Vasilev is also former Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Victoria FATA Insurance[3] as well as the Supervisory Board of Vivacom, a Bulgarian telecom company.[4] Vasilev is the recipient of the badge of honor of the University of National and World Economy in Sofia[5] and Doctor Honoris Causa of the "St Ivan Rilski" University of Mining and Geology.[6]

In July 2017, Bulgaria's prosecution indicted Vasilev with embezzlement.[7] Since September 2014, Vasilev has been living in exile in Serbia where he faces extradition proceedings [8] and investigation for deliberate bankruptcy [9]

Education[edit]

Tsvetan Vasilev holds a master's degree in International Economic Relations from the University of National and World Economy. After graduation, he worked as a research fellow in economics at the Center of Foreign Trade and International Markets for seven years.[10]

Early career[edit]

Tsvetan Vasilev started his career in finance in 1992 when he founded his brokerage company Bromak EOOD[11] and his investment intermediary Fina-S AD.[12] Between 1995 and 1999 he headed the Foreign Exchange Operations and Liquidity Department of Central Cooperative Bank, and in 1997 he also became member of the bank's Board of Directors. In 1999 he left Central Cooperative Bank to head the Markets and Liquidity Department at CB Bulgaria Invest (now Allianz Bulgaria Commercial Bank).

Corporate Commercial Bank ("Corpbank")[edit]

Between 2000 and 2003, Vasilev served as Chairman of the Executive Board and Executive Director of Corporate Commercial Bank AD. In 2003 he became its majority shareholder and Chairman of its Supervisory Board.[13]

Entrepreneurial and innovative investments[edit]

By 2014, Corpbank was Bulgaria’s fourth largest bank.[14] The bank held an extensive portfolio of companies and was the only bank in Bulgaria investing in start-ups and entrepreneurs. Because the bank was making these types of investments that no other banks were doing, its profits and regional power grew. Until its destruction by Bulgarian regulators and the looting of its assets, Corpbank was arguably the most innovative and entrepreneurial bank in the Balkans.

Starting from scratch in 2001, it was a pioneer in export financing to Bulgarian energy producers and ammunition manufacturers previously without banking options. Unlike its rivals, Corpbank also made direct investments in its clients and emerging enterprises in Bulgaria, most notably the country's leading telecom Vivacom, which it bought from creditors along with affiliates of VTB Capital in 2012.[15][16] Vivacom is the leading market provider in Bulgaria for a variety of telecommunications services, including landline, mobile, Internet, radio, and TV. It has approximately 3,500 employees.[17] Vassilev saw the opportunity and raised the capital to make the purchase.[17]

Experts claim that the Vivacom deal was amidst the most complicated ones on the Bulgarian financial market.[18] The restructuring was approved by the European Commission and the international creditors of Vivacom.[19][20] Prior to the acquisition by Vasilev and VTB Capital, Vivacom had incurred significant debt after a buyout by AIG in 2007, which subsequently sold its shares to PineBridge Investments.[21]

The company's 2013 financial report showed considerable improvement: EBITDA increased from BGN 267 million to BGN 339 million.[22]

"Sudden" run on the bank[edit]

Because of its growth, wealth, and power, in April 2014 one of the most influential political parties in Bulgaria (DPS) visited Vassilev. The request was simple: transfer assets for free to the "mobster circle of DPS." Vassilev refused.

Suddenly, by June and July 2014, Corpbank customers withdrew cash in a panic. Prior to the bank run, several Bulgarian media outlets ran stories accusing Vassilev of trying to organize the murder of a media titan who had close connections to the government, Delyan Peevski. Prosecutors raided companies affiliated with Corpbank. They confiscated financial documents from those companies. TV stations ran live feeds of the prosecution's raids. Over the course of 4 days, over 20 percent of Corpbank's assets were withdrawn in cash by depositors.[23]

After the bank run, Corpbank was closed for six months. Customers could not get money out. The Bulgarian government's currency board denied the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) from creating money to pay Corpbank's customers. According to Forbes, "Paying off depositors was therefore impossible. But reopening the bank was not an option either, since that would simply re-start the run. Therefore, the BNB kept the bank "on ice".[23]

Bank collapse and shutdown[edit]

In late 2014, the bank collapsed which caused the largest financial crisis in Bulgaria since the 1990s. Bulgaria’s central bank, Bulgarian National Bank, then took control over the bank. Corpbank was officially shut down and its assets taken over by the Bulgarian National Bank in July 2014. According to media reports at that time, the shutdown was due to a dispute between Vassilev and "Bulgarian media oligarch Delyan Peevski."[23]

Civil and criminal charges[edit]

In March 2016, the Bulgarian government (through the Commission for Illegal Assets Forfeiture (CIAF)) filed a lawsuit against Vassilev as the main shareholder of Corpbank. The lawsuit accuses Vassilev of using bank money to personally acquire assets and property. The government’s lawsuit seeks 2.2 billion leva, which is equivalent to $1.3 billion US dollars.[14] Vassilev blames the failure of the bank on a plot hatched by his competitors and the government, ultimately to gain control over the wealthy telecommunications company Vivacom.[14] In December 2016, Bulgarian and Swiss courts froze over 600 million levs of Vassilev’s money.[14]

The government is also going after Vassilev and his wife, charging both with money laundering. His wife is a university professor.[24]

After spending some time in Austria, Vasilev is currently residing in Belgrade, Serbia (he voluntarily surrendered to Serbian police officers on 16 September 2014). In March 2015, the Appellate Court of Belgrade ruled against an extradition request by the Bulgarian authorities.[25]

"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 iceberg of corruption," Vassilev said in a Forbes interview. "The political mafia is persistently trying to downgrade what happened to Corpbank to a personal conflict between Mr. Peevski and me, which is utterly untrue. I had a conflict with the political mafia ruling the country, which has been blackmailing and threatening me for many years."[26]

After inexplicably modifying charges several times, in July 2017 Bulgaria's prosecution indicted Vasilev with embezzlement along with 17 other people.[27] According to Reuters, the case is "seen as one of the Balkan nation’s biggest post-communist fraud investigations". [28] Vasilev, however, argues that the charges are political.[29] He has submitted applications against Bulgaria before the European Court of Human Rights.[30] In August 2017, he also submitted an application under the US Magnitsky Act, which sanctions corrupt government officials implicated in human rights abuses, against Bulgaria's General Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov and media mogul and Member of Parliament Delyan Peevski.[31]

Corpbank's assets after the forced shutdown[edit]

After Corpbank's shutdown, insolvency proceedings were officially initiated. Corpbank's clients, however, repeatedly warned that Bulgaria's authorities were violating the creditors' interests.[32] Media reported that assets were deviated by companies and persons allegedly affiliated with Delyan Peevski and the witnesses against Vasilev.[33][34][35]

Vasilev also argues that Bulgarian authorities close their eyes to irregularities in the insolvency proceedings. He was concerned about the fate of Corpbank's strategic assets, such as Vivacom. In particular, VTB Capital controlled 33% of Vivacom through their daughter company Crusher even though they were not the true owner as the price of the shares had already been paid by Corpbank's SPV Technological Center-Institute for Microelectronics (TC-IME).[36] In murky circumstances, the shares of Vivacom were sold by VTB Capital at a devalued rate at a tender in London to Bulgarian Spas Rousev in September 2016.[37] There is pending litigation before the London High Court for allegedly illegal seizure of the equity stake in Vivacom.[38] Vasilev has raised concern that Vivacom's new owners would probably fail to pay the company's debt to Corpbank and would hurt the interests of the creditors in the insolvency proceedings.[36] It has been suggested that Spas Rousev is a strawman of Delyan Peevski.[39]

In the past, Vasilev had tried to strike a deal with a Belgian investor who was supposed to find financing for Vivacom's debt towards Corpbank, but it fell through.[40][41]

Citizenship[edit]

Tsvetan Vasilev is Doctor Honoris Causa of the “St. Ivan Rilski” University of Mining and Geology. He is also recipient of the Honorary Badge of the University of National and World Economy and a member of the university’s Board of Trustees.[42] He has authored a number of publications analyzing the financial challenges before Bulgaria and the European Union.[43][44][45][46]

Vasilev is a frequent guest of various international economic forums, such as the Wroclaw Global Forum[47] and the Black Sea Energy and Economic Summit.[48][49] Tsvetan Vasilev is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council.[50]

Vasilev has sponsored many initiatives in various fields, including scientific research, development of sports, support of orphanages, renovation of churches and monasteries, etc.[51][52][53][54][55][56][57]

He is the main benefactor of PFC Botev Plovdiv, the oldest football club in Bulgaria.[58] Vasilev’s efforts are concentrated on the development of the football club and its junior football academy.[59]

Awards[edit]

Tsvetan Vasilev has received a number of prestigious awards. He has been the recipient of The Banker newspaper "Banker of the Year" award for his personal contributions to the Bulgarian economy and banking several times:

  • Award for Dynamic Banking Management as Chairman of the Management Board of Corporate Commercial Bank AD in 2004[60]
  • Award for Promoting Bulgarian Capital in Bulgaria’s Banking System in 2008[61]
  • Market Stability Special Award in 2010[62]
  • Award for Efficient Policy and Long-Lasting Presence on the Bulgarian Market in 2013[63]

In 2011 he received the Mr. Economy award (the grand award of the Economics magazine in Bulgaria)[64] for overall contribution to the development of the Bulgarian economy.[65][66] In 2012 Vasilev received an award for his overall contribution to the development of motorcycle sports in Bulgaria by the Bulgarian Motorcycle Federation.[52]

Personal life[edit]

Tsvetan Vasilev is married to Professor Antoaneta Vassileva, Dean of the International Economics and Politics Faculty of the University of National and World Economy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official website of the Bulgarian National Bank (the central bank of Bulgaria) (in Bulgarian)
  2. ^ Official website of Corporate Commercial Bank AD Archived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Official website of Victoria FATA Insurance (in English)
  4. ^ Official website of Vivacom (in English)
  5. ^ Honorary Titles, Official website of the University of National and World Economy (in English)
  6. ^ Corporate Commercial Bank AD Gives Two Annual Awards to Top Geology Students, Monitor newspaper, 31 July 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2013. (in Bulgarian)
  7. ^ Official website of the Prosecutor's Office of Republic of Bulgaria (in Bulgarian)
  8. ^ Сръбските магистрати отказаха да екстрадират Цветан Василев, казусът се връща на първа инстанция, съобщиха от Апелативния съд в Белград, Mediapool newspaper, 11 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2018. (in Bulgarian)
  9. ^ [1] (in Bulgarian)
  10. ^ The Dearest Clients, The Manager magazine, October 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2013. (in Bulgarian)
  11. ^ Bromak EOOD official website (in English)
  12. ^ Fina-S AD official website (in English)
  13. ^ Corporate Commercial Bank AD official website Archived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ a b c d "UPDATE 1-Bulgaria files $1.3 bln lawsuit against Corpbank's main shareholder". Reuters. 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  15. ^ "VTB Capital, Corpbank Seek 73% in Bulgarian Telco Vivacom". 2012-08-13. 
  16. ^ VTB, Corporate Bank Affiliates Buy 94% Stake in Vivacom, bloomberg.com, November 2012 (in English)
  17. ^ a b "VTB Capital Faces Fraud Accusations in the UK Over Handling of a Loan | Russia! Magazine". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  18. ^ BOYANOV&Co. Advises on “Probably the Most Complicated Deal in Bulgaria Ever”, 6 September 2012, boyanov.com (in English)
  19. ^ VTB, Corporate Bank Affiliates Buy 94% Stake in Vivacom, bloomberg.com, 12 November 12 2012 (in English)
  20. ^ Bulgaria's Vivacom gets court approval for restructuring, reuters.com, 6 September 2012 (in English)
  21. ^ Majority Owners of Bulgaria Telco Vivacom Make Buyout Offer, reuters.com, 28 January 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.(in English)
  22. ^ "2013 Financial Report" (PDF). s2.vivacom.bg. Vivacom. 
  23. ^ a b c Coppola, Frances. "Bulgaria's Failed Corpbank: The Former Owner's Story". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  24. ^ "Vassilev and spouse investigated for money laundering". europost.bg. Retrieved 2016-12-27. 
  25. ^ Сръбските магистрати отказаха да екстрадират Цветан Василев, казусът се връща на първа инстанция, съобщиха от Апелативния съд в Белград, Mediapool newspaper, 11 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015. (in Bulgarian)
  26. ^ Coppola, Frances. "Bulgaria's Failed Corpbank: The Former Owner's Story". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  27. ^ Official website of the Prosecutor's Office of Republic of Bulgaria) (in Bulgarian)
  28. ^ "Bulgaria files indictment in $1.5 billion Corpbank embezzlement probe". reuters.com. Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  29. ^ [htps://sofiaglobe.com/2018/03/27/bulgarian-court-denies-defence-motion-to-dismiss-ccb-embezzlement-lawsuit/ "Bulgarian court denies defence motion to dismiss CCB embezzlement lawsuit"]. sofiaglobe.com. Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  30. ^ Coppola, Frances. "Bulgaria's Failed Corpbank: The Former Owner's Story". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-03-27. 
  31. ^ "In Bulgaria, Global Magnitsky Act could make a real difference". thehill.com. Retrieved 2018-03-28. 
  32. ^ "Основните модели за ограбване на масата на несъстоятелността в КТБ" (in Bulgarian). glasove.com. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  33. ^ "Ето кои активи на КТБ заграби "жертвата" Пеевски" (in Bulgarian). frognews.bg. 22 August 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  34. ^ "Бисер Лазов с подставени лица взима още 102 милиона от КТБ" (in Bulgarian). frognews.bg. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  35. ^ "Свидетели уличиха Бисер Лазов и Ко в грандиозни далавери с активи на КТБ" (in Bulgarian). frognews.bg. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  36. ^ a b "Истината за "Виваком"" (in Bulgarian). clubz.bg. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  37. ^ "Спас Русев в БТК: Временен стопанин №5" (in Bulgarian). capital.bg. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  38. ^ "Bulgaria's Vivacom Shareholder Sues VTB for Alleged Fraud". Read Russia. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  39. ^ "Спас Русев и Пеевски в отчаян опит да легитимират кражбата на БТК" (in Bulgarian). glasove.bg. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  40. ^ site.meta-author. "LIC33 BOUGHT A STAKE IN TELECOM OPERATOR VIVACOM AND FIVE OTHER BULGARIAN COMPANIES". BNT News. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  41. ^ "LIC33 pulls out of Vivacom deal". TeleGeography. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  42. ^ Board of Trustees page on the official site of the University for National and World Economy (in English)
  43. ^ On Dual Standards and Why They Threaten Europe’s Unity, New Europe, 12 December 2010 (in English)
  44. ^ Bulgaria’s Potential for Sustainable Growth and How to Enhance it in 2011, New Europe, 1 January 2011 (in English)
  45. ^ Europe: Any Light at the End of the Tunnel?, New Europe, 2 January 2012 (in English)
  46. ^ Double EBRD Standards on EU Funding, Analysis of Tsvetan Vasilev, New Europe, March 2012 (in English)
  47. ^ Wroclaw Forum Discusses Growth in Eastern Europe, Europost, 8 June 2012, Retrieved 24 September 2013. (in English)
  48. ^ Istanbul Energy and Economic Summit 2012, Official website of the Atlantic Council(in English)
  49. ^ Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum 2011, Official website of the Atlantic Council (in English)
  50. ^ International Advisory Board page on the website of the Atlantic Council (in English)
  51. ^ Top Students Receive Gifts from Corporate Commercial Bank, Newspage on the official website of the University for National and World Economy (in Bulgarian)
  52. ^ a b Tsvetan Vasilev Received an Award from the Bulgarian Motorcycle Federation for an Overall Contribution to Bulgarian Motorcycle Sports, bnews.bg, December 23, 2012 (in Bulgarian)
  53. ^ Corporate Commercial Bank AD is the New Sponsor of Bulgarian Volleyball, novinite.bg, 9 October 2012(in Bulgarian)
  54. ^ Corporate Commercial Bank AD Makes Christmas Wishes Come True Again for Children in Need at the Orphanages in Sofia and Gabrovo, Official website of Corporate Commercial Bank AD, December 12, 2012 (in Bulgarian)
  55. ^ Reconstruction of the Sveti Dimitar Solunski Church in the Etara Quarter of Gabrovo, Official website of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, November 30, 2009 (in Bulgarian)
  56. ^ A Monument of Atanas Burov Unveiled, politika.bg, December 9, 2011 (in Bulgarian)
  57. ^ Official site of the St. Kozma and Damyan Monastery (in Bulgarian)
  58. ^ Botev is Ready for the Championship Title, The New Base Proves a Different Model of Development, sporta.bg, 13 september 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013 (in Bulgarian)
  59. ^ Mury Stoilov Before the Opening of the Base in Komatevo: "This was My Dream", gong.bg, 17 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. (in Bulgarian)
  60. ^ Tsvetan Vasilev Became Banker of the Year, Newspage on the Official Website of Corporate Commercial Bank (in Bulgarian)
  61. ^ Banker of the Year Awards, news.expert.bg December 3, 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2013. (in Bulgarian)
  62. ^ Banker of the Year Awards, 9 December 2010, money.bg. Retrieved 16 September 2013. (in Bulgarian)
  63. ^ Tsvetan Vasilev Named Banker of the Year, europost.info. Retrieved 1 February 2014.(in Bulgarian)
  64. ^ Mr. Economics, Official website of the Economics magazine Archived 2013-09-28 at the Wayback Machine. (in Bulgarian)
  65. ^ Mr. Economics Awards 2011, Report by the Bulgarian National Television on 30 November 2011, www.bnt.bg. Retrieved on 4 September 2013.
  66. ^ Mr. Economics 2011 is Tsvetan Vasilev, Standart newspaper, November 2011. Retrieved on 4 September 2013. (in Bulgarian)

External links[edit]