Bulgarian Media Moguls Face Seizure of Dailies If Found Guilty

Crime | June 16, 2012, Saturday // 15:05|  views

The spokesperson of the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, Rumyana Arnaudova, says the newspapers of media tycoons Donev and Pavlov can be seized by the State if the two are found guilty in Court. Photo by BGNES

If Bulgaria media tycoons Lyubomir Pavlov and Ognyan Donev are sentenced in a Court of Law, their newspapers will be seized by the State and become State properties.

The information was announced by the spokesperson of the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, Rumyana Arnaudova, speaking Saturday in an interview for radio K2.

Arnaudova cited as grounds for her statement, article 253, paragraph 6 from the Penal Code.

When asked why the charges were pressed very close to the time of a forum on media freedom in Bulgaria in Brussels, organized by the ALDE group in the European Parliament, the Prosecutor replied that her office had not intended the coincidence. She was firm that the prosecution cannot take sides in any dispute.

The two businessmen publish some of largest-circulating dailies in Bulgaria, mainly Trud (Labor) and 24 Chassa (24 Hours) while Pavlov is the chairman of the Union of Publishers in Bulgaria.

On Tuesday, Pavlov was charged with money laundering, document fraud, and preparing documents with false content, while Donev was charged only with money laundering. Both bails were set at BGN 50 000.

On Thursday, the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office officially demanded that the assets of Donev and Pavlov be frozen.

Donev and Pavlov's personal assets and properties will not be frozen for now, Arnaudova told reporters then.

It was also noted Thursday that the freezing of the two partners' assets is not expected to hamper the operations of Media Group Bulgaria Holding and the publishing of its high-circulation newspapers.

Prosecutors were approached by Donev and Pavlov's former partners Hristo Grozev and Austrian Karl Habsburg.

The allegations reportedly implicate Pavlov and Donev in a money laundering scheme, thanks to which they purchased by WAZ Mediengruppe assets in Bulgaria and staged an illegal corporate take-over of the newspapers.

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Tags: fraud, charged, Karl Habsburg, Presa daily, Trud, Bulgarian Media Union, Union of Publishers in Bulgaria, CIBANK, Brussels, European Commission, Finance Ministry, Irena Krasteva, Central Cooperative bank, EIBank, DTT, Corporate Commercial Bank, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, Tosho Toshev, Lyubomir Pavlov, Ognyan Donev, WAZ, Hristo Grozev, 24 Hours, Presa, Rumyana Arnaudova, Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, spokesperson, SRS, DANS, National Investigative Services, National Investigative Office


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