Bulgaria's Ex-Energy Minister Denies Involvement in Privatization Fraud

Energy | September 16, 2013, Monday // 13:18|  views

Traycho Traykov, former Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister in the center-right GERB government, photo by BGNES

Traycho Traykov, former Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister in the center-right GERB government, has denied allegations that he is a defendant in a trial concerning large-scale fraud in the energy sector.

In a Monday interview for the morning broadcast of Nova TV, he commented on an interview of Stoyan Mavrodiev, head of the Financial Supervision Committee (FSC), in which he claimed that Traykov's name had been mentioned in a tip-off to the prosecuting authority.

Mavrodiev argued that Traykov, former Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, and businessman Ivo Prokopiev had sealed a deal which had drained the state coffers of millions.

He said that the 33% state-owned stake in power distributor EVN had been sold through the Bulgarian Stock Exchange at a substantially reduced price.

Four days ago, in an interview for Austrian daily "Der Standard", Mavrodiev suggested that the FSC had submitted a tip-off to the Chief Prosecutor against former Ministers Simeon Djankov and Traycho Traykov and against investment company Bulbrokers EAD controlled by Ivo Prokopiev, which had been hired by the public administration as a consultant.

A media statement of the FSC quoted Mavrodiev as saying that the Commission had concluded that Bulgaria's interests had been violated through a privatization deal.

"As a result of manipulations on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, the Bulgarian government failed to achieve a real, market price, and agreed to a lower price. This obviously resulted in a loss for the state budget. It is now up to the Chief Prosecutor's Office to decide whether they will conduct pre-trial proceedings," he was quoted as saying.

In a Friday statement, Bulbrokers rejected the allegations of the FSC Chair stated in the interview for "Der Standard."

In his Monday interview, Traykov was adamant that he had nothing to do with the controversial privatization deal for the 33% stake in EVN, which had allegedly drained the state coffers of BGN 87 M, according to reports of dnevnik.bg.

"Behind-the-scenes decision-making in Bulgaria pursues its goals strictly – it has spokespersons, media outlets, and people in public office. Whenever somebody obstructs its interest, a way is sought to wreak revenge on them," Traykov stated.

"The people who leveled these accusations must come up with details; a sum of BGN 87 M is huge when it comes to stock exchange abuse. This brings up the question about the work of the Financial Supervision Committee, which is supposed to keep track of such deals, and the work of the stock exchange. If there was an opportunity for such a fraud scheme, then the Commission did not do its job properly," Traykov said.

He specified that such deals were the responsibility of the Privatization Agency, while the Economy and Energy Minister was not involved.

Traykov also suggested that the allegations voiced by Mavrodiev indicated "professional incompetence."

He emphasized that he had never been summoned by the prosecuting authority.

Asked to comment on his recent entry into the Reformist Bloc, a new political formation consisting of right-wing parties, he explained that he was feeling well as a member of the entity.

"Like-minded people come together, this is why I joined the Bloc. We hardly ever have disagreements on any issue," Traykov added.

He emphasized that his entry into the Reformist Bloc did not mean that he was keen on making a career as a professional politician.

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Tags: Traycho Traykov, GERB government, Economy and Energy Minister, Stoyan Mavrodiev, Financial Supervision Commission, Bulbrokers, Ivo Prokopiev, privatization, Privatization Agency, EVN, power distributor


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