Bulgarian Prosecution Reopens 'Misho the Beer' Case

Crime | July 20, 2013, Saturday // 14:50|  views

47-year-old Mihail Mihov, aka "Misho The Beer", was found dead in a hotel room in RIU Pravets Resort Hotel on March 30, 2011. Photo by BGNES

The Prosecutor's Office has reopened the probe in the infamous "Misho the Beer" scandal.

In mid-January 2010, businessman Mihail Mihov became notoriously known through his involvement in the "Tapegate" saga.

At a press conference, the Galeria weekly released a tape of a conversation between then Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov and the head of Bulgaria's Customs Agency Vanyo Tanov, from which it emerged Borisov might have provided a cover-up for Mihov.

The tapes reveal that Borisov had called Tanov with an order to immediately pull out all Customs agents from Mihov's factory over an agreement that he made with the businessman, and that the "Ledenika" boss personally complained to the Prime Minister that the Customs inspected his plant in spite of their arrangements. The authenticity of the compromising tape involving Mihov's name was never unconditionally proven.

The prosecutors will probe now if Borisov has obstructed a Customs check in Mihov's "Ledenika" beer factory and evidence of trading influence, Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Borislav Sarafov told "Sega" (Now) daily.

He says Borisov, Tanov, and former Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, who is mentioned in the conversation, will be questioned.

Until now the authorities limited themselves to searching for the person who leaked the recording, which was made with Special Surveillance Devices, SRS.

47-year-old Mihail Mikov was the owner of the three Bulgarian breweries, (hence his nickname "Misho Birata" - i.e. "Misho the Beer").  Mihov was also head of the Bulgarian Basketball Federation since 2008 and the Honorary Consul of Brazil in Varna.

After the recording was made public, he was found dead in a hotel room on March 30, 2011.

According to official autopsy results, Mihov has passed away from "fast heart failure over acute coronary deficiency." The autopsy report was sent to the Sofia Prosecutor's Office.

Shortly after his body was found, the Bulgarian Basketball Federation confirmed in a statement that its President had died of a heart attack; meanwhile, Bulgarian media were quick to describe Mihov's death as mysterious.

Mihov's body was found in the 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.

In June, Volen Siderov, leader of the far-right nationalist party Ataka, said Mihov has been killed by an injection with poison simulating the signs of a heart attack to cover up for Borisov's crimes.

In the aftermath, the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, vowed to sue Siderov for slander against their leader.

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Tags: Borislav Sarafov, Deputy Chief Prosecutor, probe, Vanyo Tanov, Customs Agency, Misho Birata, Mihail Mihov, Ledenika, Tapegate, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Bulgarian Basketball Federation, Misho the Beer, Galeria, Federation, Pravets, Federation, murdered, killed, Ataka, nationalist, Volen Siderov, Simeon Djankov, finance minister, trading infulence, GERB


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