Tsvetan Vasilev and the Voice of Business
I don't know what it means to "surrender" without having been in hiding, but the past 24 hours have created this precedent as well. For two weeks it has been openly said that the banker Tsvetan is in neighboring Serbia, his lawyer tells all the TV stations how and where he met him and... all of a sudden it turned out he "heroically" surrendered to police. Stuff and nonsense, as they said in my neighborhood in Sofia when one's time was being wasted with verbosity.
This has not been the single precedent over the past months, though. Tsvetan Vasilev, a banker with impeccable business reputation, a person who had been financing anything from sport to culture, from industry to trade and whom journalists queued to meet for an interview, promptly rolls in on the headlines almost like Bulgaria's arch-rascal. And it might be for the first time that I will see the dictum of Warren Buffett, the one saying It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it, failing to fulfill itself.
Accompanied by his lawyer, Vasilev visited the police not to "turn himself in", but quite the opposite - to show he is not worried by a single violation and, if anyone thinks there has been one, to provide full assistance to him. A move only a strong businessman could make, and also one that I can't think of anyone to have lately made it. I am not sure this is not precisely what a dozen of people will have to face at the Bulgarian National Bank, this "holy place" of business which managed to bring so much disappointment and allowed for trust in it to plummet so quickly. It seems to be that even a freshman in Economics is now capable of taking the simple decision that Corporate Commercial Bank has to be restored to health, put back on its feet, naturally, with direct assistance from its shareholders, so that it could gradually start paying off to depositors. This is why Tsvetan Vasilev is now needed by the Bulgarian business, and precisely in Bulgaria, to work for the bank's recovery. The rescue of KTB, repairing Bulgaria's image is currently, and undoubtedly, the most important issue in the country.
This will be the strongest signal to Europe that the state is looking after its citizens, especially after the reports that over half a million people have been affected by the bank's closure... If the BNB keeps on protracting the matter this way, the bank will naturally keep on losing. This cannot but have a pernicious impact on the entire business field in Bulgaria - in many companies there are employees who deposited money at the bank, their money is there, even that of tens of state entities are blocked at KTB and it is as though the state did not understand where the carelessness it is displaying even about its own firms could lead.
Therefore, no business organization in Bulgaria enjoying support from trade unions falls short of demanding a simple and clear thing - let Vasilev do his work, let investors to propose a plan to restructure and recover KTB. This is the only way we could bring back the little trust that has remained on behalf of foreign investors and show that the state, whatever this means now, has heard the most important voice speaking in its support - the voice of Bulgarian business.
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