While Bulgarians are in the street rallying against the energy monopolies, Peevski acquires new media outlets with loans from the Corporate Commercial Bank that has 87% of the free capital of the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding.
Often criticised by the European Commission over the non-reformed judiciary and still shelving aside continuous recommendations by civil society organisations, Bulgaria is an arena of fascinating mutations: Delyan Peevski, owner of major media outlets, being a notorious figure in those quick developments. On the same day that the 41st Parliament was dissolved, Peevski jumped from his seat in the legislature directly into the judiciary. The Supreme Judiciary Council voted his re-admission to the judiciary, where he has been serving (again) as a judicial investigator as of 15 March 2013. His new/old position in the Sofia Prosecutors Office (the most authoritative unit of the Prosecutors Office) is not a surprising moment in his career.
Graduating from a university that is veiled in mystery in 2003, Peevski spent little time practising as a lawyer in small companies – if they were known at all – , until, in 2005 the Sofia Prosecutors Office appointed him a judicial investigator, under force majeure conditions. The decision was taken under an unwritten rule of “exception”, as young Peevski did not prove that he had fulfilled the requirements (practice period, among them) for the position. Spending just 7 months as an investigator under the direct supervision of his superior Petyo Petrov (the same officer in 2012 who pressured the owners of “24 Chasa” and “Trud’, major newspapers, with an investigation which was finally terminated in 2013, after the sale of the newspapers), in November 2005 Peevski left the judiciary due to his appointment as deputy minister in charge of emergency aid and directly responsible for the State Reserve. At that time, the State Security Agency investigated Peevski over suspicion of abuse with the state aid (and the investigation was terminated).
After another major scandal that echoed in society and shook the government, in spring 2005 Peevski was released from his high-power public office, as he was disclosed to have blackmailed the director of the state-owned “Bulgartabak” (monopoly producing tobacco products) to give public tenders to Peevski-related companies. In the day of his dismissal, Peevski requested the Prosecutors Office to re-admit him as judicial investigator. His demand was not met, and he appealed the rejection.
In autumn 2007, the Supreme Administration Court re-admitted him to the Prosecutors Office, Peevski had received a loan from the Corporate Commercial Bank and acquired three major newspapers, two daily editions and 1 weekly. His service back in the Prosecutors Office lasted a few days, as he was re-appointed deputy minister in charge of state emergency aid. Meanwhile, Peevski’s mother, Irena Krasteva, had settled in as President of the State Commission for Communications Regulations. After the 2009 national elections, Peevski was again re-admitted to the Prosecutors Office and served merely a week as judicial investigator, until he was elected Member of Parliament (and served until March 15th, 2013). During the very last session of the 41st Parliament, fellow MPs put forward his candidacy to become a member of the Anti-corruption Committee; however, the proposal was not endorsed by the Parliament.
On March 15th, 2013, rushing to re-admit Peevski to the Prosecutors Office, the Supreme Judiciary Council did not review his attestation: as in the past years Peevski has only a total of 8 months serving as judicial investigator, attestation had not been performed (the law requires 5 years in office). Meanwhile, he continues to assert control over the media market in Bulgaria, with the leading national media TV 7 and News7 (formerly BBT) now owned by his (or related to him) companies. As a matter of paradox, again, the press distribution channels, the telecommunication holding of the third largest mobile operator and the privatized monopoly of landline telephony. The European Commission has appealed the public tender for Bulgaria’s Multiplex for Digital Broadcasting: Peevski’s companies won that one, too: his oligarchy is deemed to also gain hold of the infrastructure for all freely broadcasted TV and radio stations.
In May 2013, Peevski is expected to be re-elected Member of Parliament. Meanwhile, he will be a judicial investigator in the most influential division of the Prosecutors Office. Perhaps he could become a deputy minister again, or serve in another high-rank state office, despite all scandals and gliding on the edge of law. He has worked well with 3 different governments over the years, changing two political parties and becoming an increasingly more powerful media owner.
Rosen Dimov, credentials to the Capital newspaper
For further reference (Bulgarian only): www.capital.bg