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Bulgarian prime minister calls for Corpbank's books to be opened up
May 15, 2015 / 12:51 PM / 3 years ago

Bulgarian prime minister calls for Corpbank's books to be opened up

SOFIA, May 15 (Reuters) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov on Friday said all information linked to insolvent Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank) should be made public so that “everything comes into the light.”

The collapse of Corpbank last June after a run on deposits triggered the biggest banking crisis in the Balkan country since the 1990s. Its main shareholder Tsvetan Vassilev was subsequently charged with embezzlement but he denies any wrongdoing, blaming the run on a plot hatched by his business rivals.

Bulgaria’s central bank took control of Corpbank, shut down its operations and put its own administrators in charge of the country’s fourth largest lender until late March, when they were replaced by temporary receivers.

“Everything linked with Corporate Commercial Bank should be unclassified. Deposits, companies, people, loans ... so that once and for all it be clear what had been done there,” Borisov told reporters.

“It should involve everyone ... the accounts of political parties or political leaders, if there are such, or members of parliament, everything should come into the light,” he said.

Borisov urged a special parliamentary commission on Corpbank to propose legal changes that would allow information about customers holding deposit and loans at the bank to be made public.

Prosecutors have already launched several probes into the activities of top central bank officials and Corpbank’s auditors.

Last week, they opened an investigation into the central bank administrators at Corpbank on suspicions they amended contracts of account holders who had enjoyed preferential interest rates and were therefore not entitled to compensation.

Over 1,000 such accounts have been amended, allowing their holders to access up to 100,000 euros ($113,340.00) in guaranteed compensation, Borisov has said.

An opposition party has already proposed legal changes aimed at making public the names of politicians with such accounts.

Earlier this week, pages of a log of visitors to Vassilev’s office at Corpbank in 2013 and 2014 were leaked to the local media, showing the names of politicians, legislators and bank and financial regulators as regular guests.

A Bulgarian court has declared the bank insolvent and opened bankruptcy proceedings after an international audit showed major failings in the way the lender was run that prompted a writedown of two-thirds of its assets. ($1 = 0.8823 euros) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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