TIME FOR TRANSFERS IN THE CUSTOMS
Being an enthusiastic football fan, the head of the Customs Agency Assen Assenov decided to realize a few surprising transfers in his agency. Currently, he goes no further than changing the posts of some of his players. However, more curious things are on the way, well informed sources reveal. On September 27, the press centre of the agency informed that Assenov had signed an order to appoint Stanislav Pavlov, director of the Kulata cross-border station, head of a department in the Sofia customs. Immediately, his post was entrusted to the head of the customs office in Silistra Yordan Koulev who was deputy director of the Rousse Regional Customs Directorate until the middle of the current year.A personal request from Stanislav Pavlov who asked to be transferred to Sofia, although to a lower post, was cited as the official reason for the castling. Pavlov has been working in the customs system since 1986. He started his career at the Sofia Airport. During the embargo on the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s he led the cross-border points Kalotina and Kyustendil. He also has experience as an officer of AEBTRI, the national guarantee association concerning the TIR system in Bulgaria. Pavlov's heir in the Kulata station - Yordan Koulev, joined the customs in 1992 as a police officer in Silistra. Five years later he was appointed head of the local customs office. He was dismissed in 2001 by the director of the Customs Agency Emil Dimitrov, but returned to the system after Dimitrov handed in his resignation. At first sight, the castling between Pavlov and Koulev might be considered a routine change. According to well informed sources, however, the explanation with certain private motives that necessitated Stanislav Pavlov's transfer from the Bulgarian-Greek border to Sofia sounds too naive. On the other hand, there is quite a curious rumour that has been circulating among the customs officers lately.It is believed that the reasons for last week's castling are hidden in an accident that took place at the Danube Bridge point in Rousse at the beginning of last May. The owner of one of the numerous tour operating companies that organize trading excursions to Romania decided to act as a BBC reporter investigating corruption claims in the International Olympic Committee. She managed to take photos of one case of racketeering by Rousse customers against her and her clients at the time they crossed the border. Although it sounds incredible, as far as the BANKER weekly is informed, the film has been delivered to an adviser of the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov. According to the sources of the newspaper, the tape which cannot be used as evidence in court reached Assen Assenov, too. He ordered the inspectors in the agency to examine the case. What evidence the inspectors have found against the then deputy head of the regional customs directorate Yordan Koulev and whether there has been evidence at all is difficult to say now, but at the beginning of the summer he was reduced to head of the customs in Silistra. According to sources from the customs headquarters in Sofia, Koulev defended one of the strong figures in the agency - the Deputy Director Dimitar Tolev. The representative of Crown Agents in the team of Assen Assenov promised Koulev to find him a more attractive position than the one in Silistra, well informed sources claim.In the meantime, smuggling cases through the Kulata station are going on. As a year ago the economic police cracked a channel for import of Chinese goods owned by Nikolay Metodiev-Pileto through that station, new striking cases were revealed recently. For example, Alexander Paunov, MP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, announced in Parliament concrete figures for coffee and cigarettes smuggling through Kulata. According to customs officers, Pavlov lost the trust of his managers and was asked to apply for replacement. And that opened the post for Koulev.It's only Assen Assenov who can confirm or deny the rumours. In a recent interview for the BANKER weekly he said that he considered the transparent work in the customs one of his greatest achievements.