The Bulgarian blacklist for „Magnitsky“ violates all democratic norms
The finance minister's "sanitary cordon" is like amputating a hand because of a broken finger
Taking advantage of the lack of any Bulgarian legislation related to the global law "Magnitsky", government makes blacklists based on unclear selected criteria. It brings in and makes out whomever he chooses to. Issues orders to the administrations and banks not to work with these people and organizations. And the people who are brutally deprived of their civil rights in this way should think of how to cope with it. And this continues more than two months.
What are the facts? The list under the "Magnitsky" law of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department includes 3 individuals - Vasil Bozhkov, Ilko Zhelyazkov and Delyan Peevski and 64 legal entities. This is the exact number of people and companies that "American individuals and businesses should not do business with."
Yes, only Americans! Because these sanctions do not apply for other countries and therefore do not apply. Even more so for countries in the European Union, such as Bulgaria. Unfortunately only on paper, because there is nothing European, democratic or legal in the actions of the provisional government.
The first meeting of the relevant temporary inquiry committee in parliament took place on Wednesday. At the meeting, Minister Vassilev compared the sanctions under Magnitsky to contagion and added that Bulgarian institutions cannot work with these people because they will be "immediately excluded from the SWIFT system." In the Bulgarian version of the list supplemented by the Ministry of Finance, the number of persons is almost twice as high - 121.
Banks and institutions refuse to work with another 21 individuals and 33 legal entities too, because they have been ordered to do so. For the first - from the working group established by Decision 441 of the Council of Ministers and chaired by the Minister of Finance.
And for the latter - from the BNB (The National Bank). Which, instead of showing common sense, immediately sent to the commercial banks equally obscure instructions, which practically deprived individuals and companies of access to the banking system. And this happens the 21st century, in the European Union. No court, no sentence, only on the basis of administrative arbitrariness.
Why are these people included in the Bulgarian black list at all?
Because of data from American institutions? Absolutely not! OFAC did not submit additional names beyond those officially announced on June 2.
Because of sentences? Not again! None of the persons on the additional list were included in for investigation or conviction.
In matter of fact, for the last 5 years these 21 people and 33 companies have been on the management bodies of companies related to the persons included in the US list and this is the only reason their accounts to be seized for more than two months, and the banks and the administration refuse to work with them. However, the United States has never set a time criterion for imposing sanctions. The 5 years in question are an entirely Bulgarian patent.
Asen Vassilev called this a "sanitary cordon to prevent the spread of the infection." Of course, such a statement is comical because it is like amputating a hand because of a broken finger. It is a fact that such explanations are only a screen for the grotesque truth. And the truth is that the list actually acts as a bat in the hands of the cabinet.
The persons in the list are included entirely at the decision of the working group headed by the caretaker Minister of Finance and it do not cover all of those who could fall into it due to the 5-year statute of limitations. For example, with the publication of the so-called an additional list showed that it did not include Elena Dineva - the better half of Vasil Bozhkov.
Her absence is mysterious given the fact that Dineva is also accused of participating in an organized criminal group led by Bozhkov, according to the prosecution. But this is far from the only one absent person in the list.
Equally enigmatic, the company that originally appeared on the list, the Greek Intralot, was removed from the list. Allegedly due to a technical error during the inspection in the commercial register. But while Intralot was removed from the list literally overnight, several dozen Bulgarian companies and individuals, part of the "supplemented list", continue to be deprived of their civil rights.
Despite the double standard of the working group, it should not matter who is inside the list and who is outside, because the very existence of any "blacklist" is an unprecedented administrative arbitrariness in a European country.
Arbitrariness, depriving dozens of European citizens of their civil rights, both those sanctioned by OFAC and those supplemented in the Bulgarian lists. And not even because of the lack of justice. Because the sentence takes the form of a ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court from June 5, 2021.
According decision № 441 of the Council of Ministers is an individual administrative act and accordingly, if it is appealed, its implementation is suspended. At the end of July the administrative cases initiated by persons from the BG list under Magnitsky against the Council of Ministers for decision 441 and against the Ministry of Finance and the BNB for blocking accounts and refusal to serve by institutions are over 54.
If Yanev's government was really guided by the rule of law, as says Finance Minister Asen Vassilev, then the additional list would already be inactive due to the complaints. However the people in it remain innocently guilty, because it is not the rule of law that is leading to this government. If it was true, the official Council of Ministers would not only comply with the decision of the SAC, but would also deal with the lack of legislation on the case.
But the Yanev government is clearly not interested in that. If there were clear regulations and laws, none of these normative arbitrariness, such as making a "sanitary cordon", would be able to happen. Nor would Vassilev be able to cut down any democratic norm in this country. At the first meeting of the parliamentary committee Vassilev lied brazenly in his attempts to justify the illegal actions of the provisional government.
If Bulgarian lists were not an application of the Magnitsky Law, but what they were then, since this was stated in the decision of the Council of Ministers. And without any reason, the circle of sanctioned persons is expanding. The lists were a "sanitary cordon" - a cordon for what and against what. A cordon covering only the obvious self-mutilation by the executive power to the inconvenient persons. Inconvenient for private oligarchic interests.
And the question is what, or rather who, is behind this arbitrariness?
It is not difficult to guess - it is enough to see the pioneering zeal with which the publications of The Capital Circle defend the actions of the provisional government and those of Minister Vassilev. In the opposite situation, if someone of “their people” was hit by the Bulgarian "blacklist", just imagine what a howl the Ivo Prokopiev`s media would give to.
They would be guests in the TV studios of his grant NGO Guard, there would be human rights activists who would blow our ears from morning to night, there would be signals and complaints to the European institutions.
They are doing this for decades and for far lesser offenses to those in power and who violate the rights of refugees, Roma minorities, or a convicted murderer whom Soros's pack has recognized as an innocent "human rights activist." But now they are silent. There is no word, no shout, no moan on the topic of the violation of the rights of hundreds of individuals and legal entities.
Prokopiev's mainstream media is silent, Asen Vassilev is acting. So it becomes crystal clear who is the bat and who is the man who holds it in his hands with the purpose to strike economically at his designated enemies.