Police Reported in Offices of Largest Bulgarian Print Media

Business | October 19, 2011, Wednesday // 13:49|  views

Media Group Bulgaria is the publisher of the most popular Bulgarian dailies Trud and 24 Hours. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

A private law enforcement officer and police are reported inside the offices of the two wide-circulation Bulgarian dailies - Trud (Labor) and 24 Chassa (24 Hours).

The news was announced Wednesday by the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR.

People close to the case have said that private law enforcement officer, Stoyan Yakimov, had been trying for two days to be allowed inside the editorial and printing offices of the media.

The reason for the entry is a Court order to secure property and assets of the newspapers in favor of Hristo Grozev (a former partner in the company which owes them) until his legal dispute with current owners Lyubomir Pavlov and Ognyan Donev is resolved.

The Court has levied a distrainment on the printing facilities and the brand names of the two dailies and the 168 Chassa (168 Hours) weekly until the conclusion of the trial as a guarantee that assets and properties are not going to be sold.

A lawyer of Trud and 24 Chassa is quoted saying there is no such order in the Court's registry.

The law enforcement officer is, reportedly, making a list of the property.

In April 2011, Bulgaria's competition watchdog, the Commission for Competition Protection, KZK, gave the green light to the acquisition of WAZ Mediengruppe assets in Bulgaria by Ognyan Donev and Lyubomir Pavlov, who were accused by Grozev of an attempted corporate mini-coup.

The ruling cemented the decision of Bulgaria's Business Registry Agency to register 83% of the wide-circulation dailies "Trud" and 24 Chasa as property of Ognyan Donev and Lyubomir Pavlov, former chairman of the Sofia-based Municipal Bank.

The ownership of WAZ Mediengruppe assets in Bulgaria, which include Trud and 24 Hours newspapers, changed hands just four months after Vienna-registered BG Privatinvest Ltd acquired a majority stake in the publisher, while the remainder was held by local businessmen Lyubomir Pavlov.

The conflict between the former partners flared up at the end of March after Grozev, who represents the Vienna-registered BG Privatinvest Ltd, controlled by him, Austrian Karl Habsburg, and German Daniel Rutz, accused their Bulgarian partners of an attempted illegal corporate take-over of the newspapers.

Bulgaria's trade registry initially blocked the allegedly illegal transfer of a 83% stake in the holding at the insistence of Grozev, but later, following the intervention of the Justice Ministry, gave it the green light.

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Tags: court, police, law enforcement officer, Vinprom, Karl Habsburg, 24 Hours, Donev, Ognyan, Pavlov, Lyubomir, Grozev, Hristo, BG Privateinvest GmbH, Trud, 24 chasa, newspapers, BG Privatinvest, Media Group Bulgaria, Bulgaria, Bulgarian, Peshtera, Delyan Peevski, New Bulgarian Media Group, Irena Krasteva, WAZ, Mediengruppe assets, media, Group, Zeitungsgruppe Bulgarien, KZK, 24 Chassa, order, distrainment


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