Bozhkov case: Sip up More Than You Can Gulp
The more the Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev wants us to believe that the attack on Vasil Bozhkov’s gambling empire is dictated by the purest intentions, the less likely it will happen. First, because it still lacks a logical answer to the question "Where has the state been for 30 years, if the fairy tale about Bozhkov being involved in the business of illegal currency trading in front of the Sofia pastry shop Magura is true?" And secondly, because Mr. Attorney General is unlikely to have the guts to chase his subordinates as well as the relevant Ministry of Interior bodies in search of the truth about the signals and investigations against Bozhkov received and hidden.
Mr. Geshev probably does not know, but as early as 2006-2007 in the then NSCOC (today the DGCOC), operational development was conducted against Vasil Bozhkov, which had reached the level of ... direct control of the businessman over 2700 legal entities: companies , public organizations, foundations and associations, cultural institutes, sports clubs. In July 2007, however, the then NSCOC chief Vanyo Tanov (deceased) was forced to leave the MoI system (for a completely different reason) and ... the development died forever.
In fact, if the Prosecutor General wants to get acquainted with Vasil Bozhkov's business biography, he just needs to go to the National Library and read at least the central daily and weekly newspapers that dealt with the topic from 1990-2005.
Sure, he'll have to spend about a month and a half in the reading room, but by contrast he'll be ... enlightened, at least!
Just one example. The BANKER’s one (I’ll bet we do competition advertising).
The publication is from November 27, 2000, entitled "Vasil Bozhkov builds labyrinths and only he knows its entrance and exit!" and it tells ... lots and lots of interesting things are told, but we will only quote what would fill the gaps in today's prosecutor's knowledge of the underground:
"... Vasil Bozhkov is one of the people who started his business at the famous Magura Confectionery before the changes began in Bulgaria. Knowing Bozhkov's temper, many criminal veterans still harbor fear, awe and respect for his personality. And not only they ...
It is said that at the end of 1994, Vasil Bozhkov became very close to ex-Foreign Minister Stoyan Ganev.
Perhaps this explains why, after the end of 1995, Ganev led a delegation of American Jews to Bulgaria and established a branch of the American-Eastern European Business Forum, the Nove Holding Company entered the structure and Bozhkov became its boss...
Bozhkov made his first million at the beginning the democratic changes in 1990.
Then the trade was easy to handle: buy-sell-turnover. Millions were pouring down from differences in prices and exchange rates ...
Bozhkov's first exchange office was on the ground floor of the Central Department Store - a very crowded place. But the beginning of his marketing career since 1989 has been mainly associated with the security business ...
Vassil Bozhkov gained enormous popularity during the Berov cabinet - after the formation of the Confederation of Large Industrialists - G-13 in the spring of 1994. In May of the following year Bozhkov left it, stating defiantly that the G-13 had begun to identify itself with the Multigroup, and he did not want to be in MULTI ...
The birth of the Bozhkov Empire can be traced back to the State Gazette.
The first company of the businessman - "SLV", was registered in 1991. It is an abbreviation of three names - Stefan, Ludmil, Vasil.
In 1991 the empire "Nove" AD was born. The activity scope of this company includes the production and sale of goods in the field of light and food industry, stock exchange operations, brokerage, commissioning and leasing transactions.
A year later - in 1992 - the Financial House "Nove", licensed by the BNB, came to light.
FH Nove is one of the main shareholders of the Sila Social Security Fund, founded in early 1994, together with Texim, the Yalta Youth Club and seven national trade union organizations. Vasil Bozhkov, of course, was elected chairman of the board of directors. After the licensing of the pension insurance companies in 2000, the name of Bozhkov is not included in the already Bulgarian-Czech company "Newton-Sila".
Although he would never admit it, apparently , like Ilia Pavlov, Bozhkov is trying to build an empire with structures in all lucrative industries - trade, finance, insurance, gambling, sports, media and advertising, etc.
His most striking departure is from Eurofootball (promulgated in the State Gazette on September 8, 2000). His place is taken by Elena Dineva, who is a partner of Bozhkov in three other companies, two of which rely on advertising - "Dalet"Ltd, "Internews 98" and "New Service"Ltd.
Bozhkov's most zealous acquisition over the years is BTIB, which he lost because he decided to snub one of its bosses, Ognyan Enchev.
“Bull Ins” Insurance Company is at least seemingly out of reach after Bozhkov dismissed the Deputy Minister of Justice during the time of Philip Dimitrov - Pavlin Nedelchev and appointed in his place the ex-head of the Bulgarian Foreign Trade Bank from the 90s - Veselin Rankov.
Despite Bozhkov's dozens of associates, the State Gazette indicates that the most loyal to him are Stoyne Manolov, Plamen Manov, Alexander Tamparov and Boris Bekyarov, who have followed him steadily in his endeavors over the last twenty years.
According to the Bulgarian court registry (if it is trustworthy), Vasil Bozhkov controls 48 trading companies, most of which he is a partner in.
The number of foreign and offshore companies in which he is present can only be guessed ... "
Enough with the blackouts in the prosecutor's memory. Let’s go back to our days.
According to the Commercial Register, Vasil Bozhkov is present in person - as an owner, a member of the board of directors or the management council in 87 companies, 12 of which have been written off or terminated.
According to search engines for related persons, offered by the information portals "Daxie", "Ciela", "Apis" and "Lacorda" - the picture is quite startling.
The list of legal and natural persons associated with Bozhkov on the second level fills 27 pages, and on the fourth level ... as many as 604 pages.
So those 2,700 legal entities and individuals established through the development of the NSCOC in 2007 can safely be multiplied by two today!
And if the attack against Bozhkov really pursues the administration and the restoration of justice,
the prosecution will have to empty out at least two prisons,
so that everyone who may have known what they were doing in Chief’s favour could fit in them. What is Mr. Geshev doing is to brag around with some four arrests and five or six charges.
The other mysterious "issue" in the prosecutor's campaign against Vasil Bozhkov's empire is money. In all their varieties - saved with the help of the Gambling Commission, won through illegal operations and laundered through casinos, bingo halls and lottery games, spent on illegal TV ads and reported as legal expenses.
It is absurd for Bozhkov and company to have made three to four billion in the last 5 years, to have saved 500 million from reduced taxes and to declare ... some ridiculous profits (judging by the official 2018 estimates - see the table).
It is even more absurd that the prosecutor's office so blindly trusts the State Financial Inspection Agency, thanks to which the true revenue from the lottery tickets rubbing was revealed.
What? Did the financial watchdogs of SAFC happen to know just now of the existence of the Gambling Commission? Or every time they went there for a check-up, they were welcomed and housed in an ... empty gym?
What about financial intelligence, which, until 2007, was an independent agency and then part of SANS? And did no one know anything there? Why hasn’t the Prosecutor's Office requested yet all reports of suspicious operations filed at Bozhkov and his companies from all "relevant" officials under the Anti-Money Laundering Act? For example-accountants, auditors, bank employees, credit inspectors, corporate law firms, etc.?
If there are no such reports, why didn’t the prosecution bite SANS and the financial intelligence agencies that they did not seek them within the legal deadlines?
It is the same with television commercials through which Bozhkov distorts the population and gets the nation's future addicted to gambling.
Once the lotteries are regulated by the Gambling Act, it is forbidden to advertise them in the electronic media!
And who regulates the content of the radios and TVs in question? The Electronic Media Council, of course.
Where are the relevant EMC officials who have been diligently sleeping through the lottery bacchanalia for five years?
On the loose, of course! Because EMC is "our" sacred cow that everyone has to dodge around in order not to awake it.
Are the National Lottery ads illegal only, or should the state Sports Lotto be added to this pile? It should not apparently, since no one deals with the proper or improper advertising of gambling under a government guardianship!
We’d rather not get into the NRA, since three Banker issues won’t be enough to cover the story. So we end (for now) with another "proposal":
If Vasil Bozhkov was to be responsible not only for the saved "gambling" BGN 500 million, but also for the dirty millions, stocked over the years and invested in his unique antique collection, why didn’t the investigation hit former chief prosecutors Nikola Filchev and Boris Velchev?
Logically they both should be made responsible: at the time of the late Ivan Tatarchev (1992-1997) Bozhkov still did not have the financial resources for systematic antique purchases. And during the time of Sotir Tsatsarov (2013-2019) his collection had been legalized long before and officially recognized as legitimate ... Blessed are the believers. Big-mouthed too.