The real estates of Orion’s friendship circle in Republic of South Africa

Published in 2005

 STANIMIR VAGLENOV

ANDRE UIRGENS,

Sunday Times, Republic of South Africa   

Rumen Spasov and Veska Medjidieva represent the most important part of the mythological Orion friendship circle. At the moment they live in a distinguished home in Republic of South Africa ten years after the scandals regarding Jean Videnov’s government. Since in 1996 Medjedieva left Bulgaria, legends were spread out about Orion’s properties bough in Republic of South Africa after Bulgarian Agriculture and Industrial Bank bankruptcy.        Joint investigation of Sunday Times, Johannesburg – the most powerful weekly newspaper in Republic of South Africa and 24 hours daily in Bulgaria traced  back part of the investments the family has made. This was a difficult task because Spasov and Medjidieva prefer to remain anonymous in Republic of South Africa. Their telephone numbers do not exist in the local telephone directory, the addresses of the two companies registered there by Spasov also does not exist.   Despite this with the determinant assistance of our colleagues in Republic of South Africa we managed to photograph their investments. Most of the persons from Orion circle staid in Bulgaria and today run big businesses. Another part – the unhappy one – Kolonel’s boss Angel Vassilev and his bodyguard Yuri Lenev are sentenced to life imprisonment for Andrei Likanov’s murder and appeal the sentence.    Rumen Spasov and Veska MedjidievaLive in a luxury house Not far away from Cape Town (see the picture above). Telephone number on which we found Spasov is registered exactly at the address of this house. The family had made an investment also in a second house (see the picture on p.14), also closely located to Cape Town, in a luxury suburb Bellville. It is not clear if this house still belongs to them, but they had bought it. The interesting thing is that the first real estate is bought still in 1996 – a year prior Jean Videnov’s fall from power. The second house is bought a year later. For the first real estates the price paid is 650 000 South African randa. These are approximately 160 000 dollars at the then course of exchange. For the second property Medjidieva and Spasov had paid 520 000 randa – approximately 120 000 dollars.        The information is taken from South African Public Register, holding data for everybody’s properties and its price.  Meanwhile from Sofia public Prosecutor’s office announced that the case regarding Medjidieva’s extradition has been stopped at the request of Minister Anton Stankov. The reason is that yet four years Republic of South Africa detains the extradition with different bureaucratic tricks and there is a risk the entire lawsuit to fail.       Medjidieva is accused of run off Bulgarian Agriculture and Industrial Bank and she can receive a sentence between 10 and 30 years if the court brought in a verdict of guilty against her. After the suspension of the case the legal proceedings against Medjidieva continues in her absence. The next lawsuit is scheduled for October. Serial request for Medjidieva’s extradition from Republic of South Africa will be sent, when her sentence becomes valid, sources from the Prosecutor’s Office specified.  According to a public prosecutor Magdalen Malinov with 4 payment orders, personally signed by Medjidieva, the capital of Bulgarian Agriculture and Industrial Bank had been run off.    Rumen Spasov’s New business According to a Company and intellectual properties Register in Republic of South Africa, Rumen Mirchev Spasov participates in at least two business structures. 1. Rostau Ltd. company, registered on December 18, 1997, her company number is 1997/022090/07, but its tax number is - 9264023020. It is registered in Cape Town, 9 Rebake Str., Shell House, fl.5. Its office thought is not located there, but the office of Bass Gordon Willis auditor’s company. Spasov’s company is not included in Cape Town Telephone Business Directory and all efforts and researches made by our colleagues in the country who tried to find information about its activity remained fruitless. According to the journalist it’s too strange and definitely is not typical about the companies in Republic of South Africa. On the contrary – they make all efforts to attract the attention of the customers to its business. 2. A company with the same name – Rostau that though is a close type corporation. Our colleague – a journalist from Republic of South Africa explained that this is a small business that can be run under a name different from Rostau. The company at the moment is registered on the same address, at the same audit company, called M G I Bass Gordon. Their telephone number is +27 21 405 85 00, but these type of companies are famous with the practice to never speak with their clients.   The home address stated by Spasov in the registration of his company is 43 Trichardt Street, Welgemoed, Cape Town.There is a company in Republic of South Africa called TransUnion ITC that provides an official credit-rating as a service to everybody who applies for a bank credit to buy goods on leasing, for a mobile phone etc. This way banks and companies can estimate solvency of their future clients.According to TransUnion ITC information Rumen Spasov has stated one and the same telephone number as a company and as a home telephone number - +27 21 913 6952. It is possible he to run his business from home. As a profession Rumen Spasov has written he works as a consultant of Cape Agents Ltd company. There is no information about the activity of such company in Republic of South Africa. In Bulgarian company register a company with such name - Cape Agents does exist. It is founded in March 2003 as a sole property of Leomar Establishment – a company from Lichtenstein. Director is 28-years old Yana Kristianova Peneva. The company is registered in Sofia quarter Krasna poliana. Yana Peneva participates also in two more companies – Ahil 96 registered in Samokov town and Dopleor JSCo., registered in Sofia. A member of the Board of the Directors in the foundation of this society in 1999 is Stefan Pavlov – a lawyer. He represents Spasov and Medjidieva after their departure from Bulgaria in many so called “Orion companies” – Betelhize Commerce, Hatisa Transport etc. The actual proprietor of Dopleor is Shar Establishemnt company, registered in Lichtenstein.     Yana Peneva is also a Director of Chaira Company, that manages the ill-famed hydroelectric power plant in Georgi Damianovo village. This settlement became famous as the first private village in Bulgaria after representatives of Orion’s friendship circle bough up the production equipment of the former Agricultural Cooperation there. An owner of Chaira Company is Veska  Medjidieva, according to Ciela information system data. The information from Prosecutor’s Office though is that the only real estate in her favor is the property in Rezovo village.     According to the register Medjidieva represent also Temporari Ltd. but she does not have any property in this company. 100% of the company capital in it belongs to Anna Danova, a sister of Mihail Danov, Director of Bulgarian Telecommunication Company in the time of Jean Videnov. He is one of the main figures in “the constellation.” Ever since he was fired from Bulgarian Telecommunication Company he has established series of prosperous companies, mainly occupied with production of agricultural products.    From TransUnion ITC information becomes clear that Rumen Spasov has pointed out one more company he works for - Atroum Balkan Investment. In Bulgarian company register a structure with the same name does not exist. The common sounded by name Atrum Bulgaria is a property of a Greek citizen – Atanasios Gikonoglu and controls half of the shares in Saturn company, occupied with detective and security services. The rest of shares belong to Nikolai Kodjeikov, an ex member of the Board of the Directors of Bulgarian Agriculture and Industrial Bank, an associate in the star Saif company. He participates also in Counter Secret Service Agents Association in Bulgaria. Atrum Bulgaria and Saturn are registered at one and the same address in Sofia quarter Lozenetz. There is also another company Atrum BDI, registered in Greece that controls 80% from the property of Vermion – Bulgarian company registered in November 1997. The other 20% in Vermion holds the wife of Nikolaicho Krivoshiev – Bonka.  Otherwise according to the register Orion boss controls Saif company – also a firm from Orion circle. In the same company participates also Veska – a sister of Yordanka Tihomirova, she also lives in Republic of South Africa. In this very company presents also another co-founder of Orion circle – lamb trader Nikolaicho Krivoshiev, as well as Dania Konstantinova – daughter of Yanko Yanev – banker that once handed out non-refundable credits from Bulgarian Agriculture and Industrial Bank to Orion connected companies.          According to Ciela information system he figures still on the position of prosecutor of Rila company Ltd. In this company also participate Dania Yaneva and Massimo Pakomini - an Italian, and others are involved as well.     According to the TransUnion report Rumen Spasov’s credit record during the last 4 years has been requested by many banks, leasing houses for car selling, as well as companies for mobile communications. They need this information when somebody demands for home loans, cars or want to become their subscriber.   

Rumen Spasov: You wrote the most disgusting Things about us 

“There is no Rumen Spasov on this telephone number.”, a woman with a mildly pronunciation says in Bulgarian, responding on our call. We dialed the number mentioned by the boss of Orion as a contact number simultaneously at his home and at his office. On our second attempt different woman picks up the phone and knowingly keeps silent for several seconds when we ask for Veska Medjidieva. As late as our third try a man answers the phone. 

-    Hello, may I speak to Mr. Spasov?

-    Continue!

-    Am I speaking with Rumen Spasov?

-    Yes, speaking!-    I am calling with 24 hours daily in Sofia. My name is Stanimir Vaglenov. May I ask you several questions?

-    You wrote the most disgusting things about us.

-    This is your personal opinion. Now I am calling you because I would like to write down your position, because I am preparing an article for you.

-    I do not trust you at all.

-    However I am calling you in order your position to be presented in my investigation. We will print it as it is without any editing.

-    What do you want to ask me?

-    Our questions concern your business, as well as the lawsuit against Mrs. Medjidieva.

-    I am not sure, I do not believe you. Send me the questions by fax and I will decide if I should answer them. The fax number is the same as the telephone number, but just the last digit is 3.

-    Thank you, Mr. Spasov. I will send the questions by fax. 

24 hours daily sent eight questions to Rumen Spasov and Veska Medjidieva. Until the editorial closure of issue no answers had been sent back. We are ready to publish them, as soon as we receive them. 

    Stoyan Shukerov: Veska bought the property in Rezovo in 1992 

Veska Medjidieva and Rumen Spasov bought the entire property for peanuts, approximately 20 decares in Rezovo still in 1992. We were great friends, especially with Veska. We had agreed to separate it and we’ve done it in 1995. I took 4,250 decares, a friend of mine also took the same area, but the rest of the land remained for Veska. The entire area over there is out of regulation even at the present.    Several years ago I understood that this property is attached. I had not spoken with Veska and Rumen for a long time, but probably I have to contact them, because a road between the two properties has to be built so we could reach the sea. Otherwise their parcel is wonderful, there is a ravine that leads directly to the sea. Behind us is the parcel of Boyan Biolchev – Sofia University rector, but at the side are lands of the deputy Dimitar Tzonev’s father-in-low. There were some publications about it in the past. Soon I am planning to go there so I can see what is needed to be done in order my parcel to get in regulation.        Public prosecutor

The prosecutor Magdalen Marinov:

 We levy a distraint to 12 decares belonged to Veska near by the sea coast 

-    Mr. Marinov, how far the lawsuit regarding the extradition of Veska Medjedive did get?

-    There will be no extradition for now. We made an official request to the Juridical Minister Anton Stankov if the demand for the extradition will be maintained. On April 1, current year Minister Stankov has sent a letter to Sofia city court where he writes: ”Bearing in mind the upcoming real risk the inaction of juridical authorities in Republic of South Africa to lead to a frustration of the natural course of your case as a Minister of Justice I accepted as expedient to withdraw the demand for extradition of the defendant Veska Medjidieva. This way I hope to contribute obstacles for due and legally proceeding of the legal proceedings for the honorable court to drop out. I advise you that I no longer maintain the demand for the extradition of the defendant Medjidieva”.     

-    Is this means that Veska will be put on trial in her absence?-    Yes, the lawsuit is scheduled for the period between October 26 and November 1 current year. The accusation is for two crimes: under article 206, paragraph 4 and under 203 paragraph 1. The indictment has been deposited sill on June 27, 2001 – you see how much time we had lost with our attempts to extradite her. Despite the polite answers we receive from Republic of South Africa all the time strange thing happen that frustrate the extradition. For example the first time their sheriff torn up to pieces the documents with our demand and nobody could explain the reason. We get back the documents in this mode – torn. But Medjidieva’s defense right away benefited from this situation and protested the demand for extradition.

-    What other type of strange things had happened?     

-    They wanted me to do something that nobody in any country has did  before – to send a declaration demonstrating the fact that I am really a Public prosecutor and I am really in charge with Medjidieva’s case. I sent these documents, but nothing happened.

-    What is the punishment that the law stipulates for the accusations against Medjidieva?

-    Notably heavy, especially under article 203 – for appropriation implemented by a functionary. The sentence could vary from 10 to 30 years in prison. That is to say that if she is sentenced a new demand for her extradition will be sent so she could be put in jail and then no problem should be because we are talking about such heavy crime. Confiscation of her property is also stipulated. But I do not know how long all this could last.

-    A property just on Bulgarian territory?  

-    Yes, just in our country. In this connection we’ve attached one Medjidieva’s property – more than 12 decares that is bordered on the east by Black Sea. In fact this is the sole property she has in Bulgaria. We asked the court to attach it and the court done it. This is to say that this property will be confiscated in government’s favor if the court brings in a verdict of guilty against her.

-    Where exactly this property is situated?

-    In Rezovo village, Chuchurikata place - 12 750 square meters at the sea side. On south-east her neighbor is Stoian Shukerov.-    The former member of the Board of the directors of Bulgarian National Bank at the time of Jean Videnov?-    Yes. In fact he had made over this property to them with a notarial act dated November 3, 1995. But Zlatimir Orsov – an ex deputy at that time and co-partner of Medjidieva in the foundation of Bulgarian Agriculture and Industrial Bank – made a lot of attempts in 2001 to made over this property to his son – Rumen Rumenov Spasov who was 7-8 years old at that time. Orsov had a letter of attorney signed by Medjidieva, but he could not make over the property, because we intervened.  

-    How Bulgarian Agriculture and Industrial Bank is run off?

-    With 4 payment orders personally signed by Medjidieva, the entire capital of Bulgarian Agriculture and Industrial Bank had been drawn. Part of the money is taken by hand, others through bank transfers had passed the borders of Bulgaria. Nobody can find them abroad. This is done more than 10 years ago – in May 1995. Right after Medjidieva’s departure together with Rumen Spasov.

-    When exactly do they leave?  

-    A little while after the bank remains without assets – in 1996. Still in 1995 both of them had visited Republic of South Africa. -    This is to say that there is a chance they had tried to pave the way for their departure there? -    Most probably.

-    Do you have any information what is Medjidieva’s property in Republic of South Africa?

-    Her lawyer had visited her in Republic of South Africa and he had brought pictures and the press published it – Veska has a wonderful house, with a swimming pool etc. Over there though we have no right to do anything.