The Bulgarian politician and MEP (ECFR Group), whose name is involved in hiding taxes and plundering millions of leva from the Corporate Commercial Bank, or CCB, which collapsed in 2014, has dared to accuse journalists for his own sins.
The MEP wrote on his Facebook profile that he has summoned the state’s General Prosecution for “corruption practices, hiding income and money laundering through purchases of luxurious property” by NOVA TV’s host Anna Tsolova. He added he is preparing similar claims against BTV’s host Anton Hekimyan, his producer Anna Todorova and Victor Nikolaev – co-host of NOVA’s morning political show together with Tsolova.
Such claims, coming from a person, who had not filed his tax declarations for 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 although he had been obliged to do so, according to findings of the State Revenue Agency of Bulgaria, are immense arrogance.
In 2014 the State Revenue Agency announced that Barekov owes over 35 000 leva (around 17 500 euross) of unpaid taxes to the state, together with the interest rates. The revision act has been confirmed by a first instance court, and appealed before the High Administrative Court.
Just recently, the state prosecution filed the indictment against the alleged plundering of the CCB, which collapsed in 2014 in Bulgaria’s by far biggest banking collapse so far. It revealed that Barekov and his political project Bulgaria Without Censorship, have received 25 million levas (around 11.5 million euros) from the bankrupt bank.
The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria considers that it would be extremely inappropriate if the institutions start pressuring journalists following claims of Nikolay Barekov. Before starting any investigation, it has to be reviewed very carefully if those claims contain data for violations at all.
A far more important task for the institutions in charge is to seek the responsibility of the MEP for the damages he had caused to the taxpayers by not paying his own taxes and allegedly acquiring funds from the bankrupt bank.
The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria considers the pay in the media a very important issue and has pointed out more than once that hiding income in the so-called grey economy does not have a positive effect on the media environment. The state and the media owe a lot to the journalists in this regard.
Any investigation, launched against journalists, following claims of compromised politicians, would equal repression and would provoke our immediate reaction, also through bringing the case to our international partners.