The past week was marked by frenetic activity in the publications owned or financed by oligarch-publishers (and criminal defendants) Ivo Prokopiev, Ognyan Donev and Tsvetan Vassilev who joined efforts against the eternal foe of the backstage power brokers, namely the MP and publisher of the Telegraph Media, Delyan Peevski.

 

Оligarchy inundates Peevski with fakes by the hour

Over a span of several days only, their websites veritably spewed out a whole avalanche of fake news. Peevski has long been a thorn in the eye of the oligarchy thanks to his legislative initiatives. The amendments to law introduced by him and his colleagues from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms first have forestalled the secondary looting of CorpBank which Tsvetan Vassilev made bankrupt and then the Parliament approved other amendments aimed at ensuring full transparency in financing the printed and online editions in Bulgaria.

In response, the media linked with the Bulgarian oligarchy on a regular basis inundate him with disinformation, as this week fake news appeared literally every single hour (See here). First of all, Kasim Dal, former MP of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms expelled from the party, made an attempt to promote a thesis that Peevski defended “corporate interests” (See here). Later on, the evergreen fake news about the imaginary ties of Peevski with Bulgartabac was again warmed up (See here). Ex-journalist Sonya Koltuklieva, indicted for tax crimes, also joined the choir of haters (See here). And finally the cogs of the oligarchic libel machine made use even of the Justice in the Light initiative aimed at making judges explain their verdicts in writing, publicly and in plain language, to slap on Peevski the next in a row fake news (See here).

Following media initiative Justice in the Light:

Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) encouraged the judges to explain their verdicts

The SJC will encourage all judges in Bulgaria to provide explanations of their verdicts written in brief and in accessible language. The representatives of the judicial power and the media backed this proposal during the Monday meeting held on the premises of the SJC. The meeting was called after the editors-in-chief of five national newspapers – Monitor, Telegraph, 24 Hours, Trud and Standart - sent a letter to the SJC and the “big trio of Themis”, Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov, chair of the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) Georgi Cholakov and chair of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) Lozan Panov, asking them to furnish more information to the general public when announcing court rulings on individual cases. The initiative Justice in the Light started off after a consecutive incident of inexplicable not-guilty verdicts pronounced in Bulgaria, namely on the Alabin case.

Of all the invited reps of the judicial power only Lozan Panov, who is deemed No.1 Judge in Bulgaria, has not responded to the media appeal for a constructive dialogue. The key topic of the working meeting was exactly the improvement of communication with media and raising public information awareness about the verdicts pronounced by the judicial authorities. Among the participants in the meeting were Boyan Magdalinchev representing SJC, Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov, chair of SAC Georgi Cholakov, as well as members of the Council and speakers of the judicial and prosecutors’ boards Tsvetinka Pashkunova and Daniela Masheva, chief secretary of SJC Silvia Ilieva and chef de cabinet of Dragomir Zheliazkov, chair of the SAC.

The media were represented by Lyubomira Budakova, editor-in-chief of Monitor newspaper and news agency, Vasil Zakhariev, editor-in-chief of Telegraph newspaper, Borislav Zyumbyulev, editor-in-chief of 24 Hours newspaper, Ekaterina Nikolova, deputy editor-in-chief of The Standart newspaper and Natalia Finashkova-Radoslavova, deputy editor-in-chief of Monitor newspaper and news agency.

 Minister and MP of the Socialist Party in the eye of a phone-hacking scandal

The scandal over hacked phone shook the entire Bulgaria last week. The wiretapped recordings were produced by Elena Yoncheva who was charged with laundering CorpBank money several days ago. Yoncheva accused the Minister of Culture Boil Banov of not paying BGN 700,000 in contract penalty to the company which was building the architectural ensemble Largo in central Sofia.

On his part, Banov declared that the “recordings were falsified, manipulated and biased,” and claimed that he fell victim to two people involved in a scheme aimed at winning tenders. One of them is an employee of the ministry and the other is a mediator. “These people are fraudsters and extortionists! A small organized crime group,” the minister said flat. Banov also announced that he was ready to table his resignation immediately, but the Prime Minister backed him and advised him to explain what happened and not to give in.

The Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation and first Yoncheva and then Banov were questioned. The inspection in the Ministry of Culture is also underway, because a person tipped as the author of the recordings is still working in the system of the Ministry of Education and Science. His chief also accused him of racketeering.

MONITOR WEEKLY DIGEST is a joint rubric of Monitor news agency and English-language edition Europost. It is published once a week, on Sunday.

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