Bulgarian President Targeted in Smear Campaign
Information that Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev had offshore companies in Cyprus where he concealed USD 1 M has emerged to be a fabrication.
The site for investigative journalism Bivol.bg writes Tuesday that the above claims about Plevneliev have been grounded on false citing of Offshoreleaks and on forged documents published in pdf format.
The accusations against the President were published late Monday night by the site silnabulgaria.com (Strong Bulgaria) and later found their place in a number of Bulgarian online media outlets, both tabloids and serious ones, including a number of TV channels.
Bivol point out that silnabulgaria.com has been just registered – on June 4, 2013. Their check showed that the owner is unknown, but it is hosted by the Bulgarian Superhosting and, as Bivol say, disclosing the name of the person paying for it would be a matter of hours.
The investigative journalists further inform that there is no information whatsoever about Plevneliev and his purported shady businesses in Offshoreleaks, which could be easily verified online from the database released by the International Consortium of Investigative journalists (ICIJ). ICIJ have never conducted any Plevneliev-related investigation.
One of the pdf files represents a faxed photocopy of his passport and his spouse's passport with a cover letter and a standard form where it is written that he is the attorney of an offshore company, not owner or shareholder. The President, however, does not have law degree.
As Bivol notes, the dates on the said documents are even stranger – the form is dated May, 1999, another 5 forms have the date May, 2000, while the photocopy with the passports is from June 8, 2000.
All online publications have been removed meanwhile, including the one of silnabulgaria.
Bivol stress they have criticized the President on numerous occasions, but insist on being objective and unbiased journalists, providing sound and high-quality reports.
Meanwhile, the press center of the Presidential Administration issued an official statement denying the silmabulgaria report implicating Pleveneliev in draining USD 1 M from the German company Lindner as their business partner.
The statement stresses that the income, the assets, and the real estate of the President are public and can be checked on the site of the National Audit Office.
It informs that during all the years when he was a businessman Plevneliev always obeyed the law; paid all due taxes in Bulgaria and abroad to the last penny; all his and his family properties and assets have proven origins; he had never profited from public tenders, "absorbed" public funds, and privatized State companies for pocket change.
"This slander publication is an expected retaliation for the firm and principle positions of the Head of State to preserve the statehood and the morality in the appointment of persons to senior positions and for his support for the just civil discontent in recent days. Such claims are intended to divert public attention from the dishonest political appointments and from therRighteous protests against them. The President of Republic of Bulgaria will continue to defend democracy, morality and the interests of the people, despite the smear campaign against him," the statement concludes.
Last Friday, Bulgaria's Parliament hastily and without debates appointed Delyan Peevski, controversial media mogul and lawmaker from the predominantly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, as Director of the National Security Agency, DANS.
The step caused President Rosen Plevneliev to ask the Parliament to reconsider the decision and to declare he was lifting his endorsement of the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski.
On the same day he cancelled his participation in the long-anticipated ceremony for the opening of Danube Bridge 2 between Bulgaria and Romania.
Plevneliev also scheduled an extraordinary meeting of the Consultative Council for National Security for June 20.
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