Paintings Confiscated from Bulgaria's KTB 'Were Gift to Tsvetan Vasilev'

Society | January 7, 2015, Wednesday // 10:23|  views

Photo by BGNES

A collection of twenty artworks at the Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) seized by Bulgaria's prosecuting authority on Wednesday afternoon were a present to the bank's majority owner Tsvetan Vasilev, his lawyer says.

Menko Menkov, who is one of the people representing Vasilev's position while he is abroad, refuted claims that his client had anyhow breached the law by keeping the works, since he could in no way "be familiar with something that was given to him as a present".

In a controversial move, Bulgaria's prosecuting authority confiscated on Tuesday paintings from the headquarters of KTB in downtown Sofia.

Menkov told private national NOVA TV station that prosecutors had acted without having established whose property the artworks are.

He pointed to what he described as a "peculiar" inventory prepared for the works, with no experts having been present while it was being drafted.

"The information I have at hand is that on the last workday ahead of Christmas the Sofia City Court issue a ruling on which an injunction was based. This means that confiscation of properties is envisaged for the charges against Tsvetan Vasilev and prosecutors have the right to either distraint or injunction. This is in line with the Criminal Code. An inspection to be carried out by a bailiff is scheduled for tomorrow [Thursday] based on this injunction. What was it that necessitated the urgent collection of the paintings?"

Bozhidar Dimitrov, who heads the National Museum of History, disputes this, arguing four experts had attended the inspection and also that Vasilev had not registered the artworks at the museum upon acquiring them, an obligation he had under the law.

Vasilev has been in Serbia for the past months and is facing embezzlement charges in Bulgaria for allegedly having committed a wrongdoing at KTB.

Corpbank was placed under conservatorship in June and was declared insolvent by the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) in the autumn of 2014, but the court is yet to have its ruling on that matter.

The Supreme Administrative Court is to sit on an appeal by Vasilev's Bromak EOOD, the entity which formally has a majority stake in KTB, on Febuary 9.

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Tags: Tsvetan Vasilev, paintings, KTB, Corporate Commercial Bank, artworks, appeal, Sofia City Court, Bromak EOOD, Belgrade


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