Panama Papers: First 'Politically Exposed' Bulgarian Name Emerges

Finance | May 5, 2016, Thursday // 15:00|  views

File photo, BGNES

Bilyan Balev, the co-chair of the Bulgarian Development Bank, has become the first "politically exposed person" from Bulgarian who se name is revealed in the Panama Papers affair.

The Bulgarian Development Bank is almost exclusively owned by the Republic of Bulgaria and is overseen by the country's Finance Ministry.

At least 50 companies, 16 company owners and 78 shareholders from across Bulgaria have been linked to registrations in offshore jurisdictions around the world, having their names involved in Panama Papers. Another 100 people were directors, agents, lawyers or liquidators; some of them were foreign nationals residing in Bulgaria or having Bulgarian passports.

The information about Balev was published on Wednesday by 24 Chasa, the Bulgarian partner to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which unveiled the results of their work on 11.5 million documents leaked out of law firm Mossack Fonseca and showing offshore dealings of politicians, entrepreneurs, and celebrities.

Balev, a former journalist who has been one of the three CEOs of the Bulgarian Development Bank since 2013, set up offshore company Finco Grace LTD last year that was to run his EUR 650 000 yacht that he leased, as the document reveal.

The offshore entity, however, was included in his statement to Bulgaria's National Audit Office.

All of the names of Bulgarians in the Panama Papers revealed so far by 24 Chasa have been of entrepreneurs, Balev being the single one holding a public office.

But Bulgarian authorities believe "big names" will be unveiled in the affair.

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Tags: Panama Papers, Bilyan Balev, Bulgarian Development Bank


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