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Dec 13, 2017 11:52 EEST
SOFIA (Bulgaria), December 13 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria’s Commission for Illegal Assets Forfeiture (CIAF) said it has frozen assets of Ivo Prokopiev, one of the owners of media group Economedia, in connection with a probe into the privatisation of mineral mine Kaolin.
The regulator has frozen assets worth over 199 million levs ($119.5 million/101.7 million euro), CIAF officials said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The frozen assets include Prokopiev’s stake in Economedia – the publisher of business daily Capital and news website dnevnik.bg.
Kaolin was privatised in 2000. The company’s majority owner, Alpha Finance Holding, sold its 67.32% stake in 2012 to Germany’s Quarzwerke for 140 million levs.
At end-2012, Prokopiev held a stake of over 25% in Alpha Finance Holding, according to the company’s 2012 annual financial statement.
The investigation began after Kaolin was sold in December 2012 to a German company, the commission's chairman, Plamen Georgiev, said.
Speaking at a news conference later on Tuesday Prokopiev dismissed all accusations, saying they aim to intimidate him and subdue the editorial policy of Capital and dnevnik.bg.
“What we see is a state institution with very big powers being used as a baton and an instrument for repression,” Prokopiev said during a press conference on Tuesday.
According to the latest report of international non-profit, non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders, media freedom in Bulgaria is the lowest in the EU.
(1 euro=1.95583 levs)
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