BANK EXECS EXCULPATED BY SUPREME CASSATION COURT
Non-guilty was the verdict, heard for the third time by the defendants in the lawsuit for the failed attempt at Incoms' privatization. This time, however, it is final and there is no appeal as it was extended by the Supreme Cassation Court on March 31, 2005. the former head of the privatisation Agency (PA) Zahari Zahariev, the executive directors of First Investment Bank (FIB) Matyo Mateev and Maya Georgieva, their ex-colleague who is now a member of the Supervisory Board of Central Cooperative Bank Bozhidar Grigorov, the credit inspector Nadya Koshinska, the former executive director of Incoms Bozhidar Grozev, and the lawyers Ivo Belchevsky and Boyana Karaivanova, have been exculpated.Four years ago they were put on trial at the Sofia City Court as the Prosecutor's Office held the eight of them accountable under article 282 of the Criminal Code for violating their duties and spoiling the divestment of the telecom equipment company Incoms, and thus inflicted to the State damages worth BGN52.9MN. Still in the beginning of the court trial the BANKER weekly wrote that the accusations against FIB's execs and its employee were an absurdity. They were on trial for extending in 2000 a USD400,000 loan to the private company VTP for the privatisation of Incoms. The debt was fully and unconditionally repaid a year later. Back when the case was being heard by the Sofia City Court, the bankers' lawyers pointed out they could not be sued for criminal breach of trust as this article's provisions concern employees of state and municipal institutions, while FIB was established as a private bank and was always a private institution. Moreover, the accusation that the bankers have broken the law by extending a loan that was repaid in due term, sounded not only absurd, but ridiculous, too.