Murder Suspicions Gain Ground in Bulgaria after Spooky Death

Crime | March 30, 2011, Wednesday // 16:59|  views

The president of the Bulgarian Basketball Federation and Ledenika brewery boss Mihail Mihov, also known as Misho The Beer, was found dead in a Pravets hotel room on March 30. Photo by BGNES

Speculations that a Bulgarian controversial businessman, believed to be close to those in power, has been killed, emerged shortly after the news of his deadly heart attack broke.

"This is just an example of an untimely death, which is convenient for everyone," Tsvyatko Tsvetkov, who served as Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry during the ruling of Socialist Zhan Videnov, commented on Wednesday.

Tsvetkov, who is considered to be one of the best informed people in Bulgaria when it comes to behind-the-scene political hagglings, explained that a heart attack can be easily provoked.

Yane Yanev, leader of the Bulgarian conservative "Order, Law and Justice" (RZS) party and one of the archenemies of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, took the speculations a step further.

"The official version that the rulers are trying to make people believe in is downright insolent. Mihov's death has no analogue in the transition of Bulgaria. A very important witness of high-level corruption has been done away with," Yanev fumed.

The president of the Bulgarian Basketball Federation and Ledenika brewery boss Mihail Mihov, also known as Misho The Beer, was found dead in a Pravets hotel room on March 30.

He died in RIU Pravets Resort Hotel, in the town of Pravets, northeast of Sofia, which, according to unofficial information is owned by tycoon Valentin Zlatev, the CEO of Lukoil Bulgaria.

Lachezar Todorov, chief executive of the company, which manages the hotel, told Dnevnik daily that Mihov checked in on Tuesday and had dinner at the restaurant of the hotel alone.

Todorov confirmed the body was found by a maid, who entered his room to clean it up.

"I am not qualified to comment, but as an ordinary person I can say that there has been no evidence of foul play," Todorov commented.

Yet, he stressed that the 47-year-old businessman has not complained of health problems during his stay at the hotel.

"Mihov did not ask the hotel personnel for medical or any other help today [Wednesday] or the previous day," Todorov said, adding that an investigation into the case has been launched and he will provide more information later on.

There are currently two police cars parked in front of the hotel, reporters say.

Mihail Mihov, aka Misho Birata (Misho the Beer) made headlines following a scandalous leaked wiretap, released in the middle of January by the Galeria weekly.

The conversation featured was between Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov. It tackled issues, related to the activities and license of the Ledenika brewery and its owner.

The recordings, whose authenticity was never unconditionally proven, allege that Borisov provided a cover-up for the owner of the "Ledenika" beer company, Mihail Mihov. They made clear that President Parvanov made a promise to Mihov, which he did not keep.

The tapes reveal that Borisov had called Tanov with an order to immediately pull the tax agents out of the factory and that the "Ledenika" boss personally complained to the country's prime minister.

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