Bulgaria C-Bank Triumphs as Jurgen Roth Drops ChargesCrime | March 10, 2011, Thursday // 13:21| views
German investigative journalist Jurgen Roth (front) pictured on his way out of the home of Aleksei Petrov, whom he interviewed in November. Photo by BGNES
Leading German investigative journalist Jurgen Roth has deleted a posting in his blog, alleging that Bulgaria's national bank governor protects the interests of a shady business group with the blessing of the prime minister, the central bank said.
The posting, published at the end of February this year, alleged that BNB governor Ivan Iskrov put pressure on the Irish bank, Allied Irish Bank (AIB), owner of the Bulgarian-American Credit Bank (BACB) in Sofia, to sell a 50% stake to Central Cooperative Bank at the price of BGN 1, the equivalent of EUR 0.5.
In a letter to the German lawyer's office, through which the Bulgarian central bank threatened to sue Roth for libel, the journalist explained he has deleted the posting as early as on March 6. The Bulgarian bankers had fixed March 8 as the deadline for him to do so or end up in court.
"With this act Mr Roth practically admits that the claims he has published are false and because of that impossible to prove in court," the central bank commented in a stinging statement.
"BNB has never taken its decisions under pressure, regardless of whether it is exerted by the media, political parties, and diplomats or because of corporate interests. BNB has never allowed and will never allow intervention into its work," the statement reads.
It warns that the bank will continue to follow closely the journalist's public statements and be quick to strike back to any attempts to get the reputation of the institution tarnished.
Back in November 2010, Jurgen Roth expressed grave fears about what would happen in Bulgaria if the Borisov Cabinet falls. It was in the same month that Roth made a two-hour interview with Aleksei Petrov, the former secret agent of Bulgaria's State National Security Agency DANS, who was under house arrest because of organized crime charges. The Galeria weekly, which leaked scandalous tapes against the government, is known as the mouthpiece of Aleksei Petrov.
The charges were filed by former Interior Minister, Rumen Petkov.
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