Tsvetan Vasilev 'Did Not Take Money out of Bulgaria' on Plane -Pilot
Captain Stefan Stefanov, who flies the airplane owned by Bulgarian banker Tsvetan Vasilev, has asserted no money was on board as Vasilev left Bulgaria in June.
His comments came just two days after it was reported that Vasilev withdrew BGN 206 M (EUR 103 M) from the Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), where he is the major shareholder, just before it asked Bulgaria's central bank to be placed under conservatorship due to exhaustion of liquidity.
On Friday the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) also announced BGN 3.5 B (EUR 1.75 B) were missing from KTB's BGN 5.4 B worth credit portfolio, according to results of an independent audit at the fourth-largest Bulgarian bank.
The outcome of the inspection forced BNB to revoke the bank's license and to nationalize its subsidiary Credit Agricole Bulgaria.
Speaking on national channel NOVA TV's Sunday breakfast show, Stefanov showed documents containing an inventory of people and items on board.
Two passengers, Vasilev and his wife prof. Vasileva, with two suitcases, were on the airplane as it left Bulgaria on June ????, the paper reveals.
Stefanov added Vasilev usually "carried one or two suits when he had meetings".
The pilot told NOVA TV he had personally requested to appear in the morning program to answer to claims made by renowned sculptor and former Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov on Friday, as BNB announced its measures on Vasilev's bank.
Submitting a file to the Sofia Prosecutor's Office, Rashidov, who is also an opposition MP, explained he had evidence that the private aircraft of Vasilev had flown out of Bulgaria with BGN 1.2 B (EUR 0.6 B) on board.
In his view, the banker had committed a robbery "at his own bank, but [had taken] others' money".
His allegations came as BNB also cited the auditors' finding that a total of BGN 1 B (EUR 0.5 B) had been withdrawn from the bank just in three days between June 18 and 20, before the special supervision was imposed on KTB.
On Sunday, a day before Stefanov's interview, Sofia Airport VIP Terminal Director Boris Popov was surprisingly dismissed, with some reports claiming Vasilev used the terminal to fly away from Bulgaria in June.
Bulgaria's Customs Agency has declined to comment on such information.