Konstantin Papazov: Save KTB, Give Helping Hand to 500,000 Bulgarians
Rescuing Bulgaria’s troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) should be a priority for the state, the head coach of Levski Sofia basketball team Konstantin Papazov has said.
Having become Bulgarian League champion 2013-2014, the men’s team had a chance to host a Euroleague tournament in September in Sofia – until the accounts of the team at KTB were frozen.
Bulgaria's central bank suspended all of KTB operations on June 20, placing it under special supervision and ordering an audit of its books folowing a deposits run that saw nearly one-fifth of deposits withdrawn in a week.
In an emotional interview with Novinite.bg Konstantin ‘Titi’ Papazov called on Bulgarian authorities to give a helping hand to those who want to rescue the bank.
“It is not about rescuing [KTB majority owner] Tsvetan Vasilev or rescuing KTB, it is about rescuing 500,000 people,” Papazov said, referring to individuals and companies who have their accounts at the bank blocked during the period of special supervision that could last for up to six months.
“It is about people who have no access to their money, companies that are unable to function properly and pay their workers,” Papazov said.
He also said that KTB had been deliberately hit and accused the central bank of issuing contradicting statements about the bank’s financial health. He also said the central bank had declined to extend a lifeline to Bulgaria’s fourth largest bank to halt a deposits run when asked to do so by KTB in June.
Ten days later the central bank extended a much bigger emergency lending to another Bulgarian bank also hit by a deposits run.
Papazov also urged Bulgarian authorities to give Vasilev a chance to return to Bulgaria and help save the bank rather than declaring him a criminal without a trial.
Vasilev’s whereabouts are unknown and an international warrant for his arrest has been issued by Bulgarian prosecutors.
Vasilev announced earlier this month he is going to submit a structured proposal for KTB’s rescue in the days to come in response to the central bank’s demand to the bank’s top shareholders for potential capital and liquidity support for KTB.
“Time will show whether he is a criminal or not,” Papazov said, adding that the bank’s majority owner could be declared guilty only by courts.
“Give Vasilev a chance without humiliating him,” Papazov said.
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