The Commission for the Confiscation Unlawfully Acquired Property (KONPI) has started a procedure for the property seizure of the co-founder of Dnevnik and Capital Ivo Prokopiev, which are first steps for a possible future confiscation claim. Affected by the move are family property and shares of companies, including 100% of the shares in the publishing company Ikonomedia, of which Dnevnik and Capital are part.
In a statement, Prokopiev says today (11 December) that the corrupt political elite of Bulgaria uses the mechanism of “citizen confiscation” to crush its opponents.
Prokopiev assesses KOMPI’s actions as brutal trampling of the law and neglect of the objective facts. He also says that he has appealed against KOMPIs acts in court. According to him, KONPI’s actions are arbitrary, aiming at repression, subjugation of the editorial content of Capital and Dnevnik, and demolition of the economic base of the two media.
“The case demonstrates how dangerous can be the biased application of such a law implying a guilty presumption, when the party under attack can only defend itself after the imposition of the precautionary measures. This is contrary to basic human rights and legal principles guaranteeing the presumption of innocence, equality before the law and property protection. When used against media, this legislation is a powerful tool for censorship”, the publisher writes.
“The KOMPI attack against me is a clear illustration of how the so-called an instrument of “civil confiscation,” when it comes to the hands of a corrupt political elite, will be used only to crush the public opponents of the status quo, Prokopiev writes.
The attacks against Prokopiev were largely anticipated.
A delegation of publishers and journalists was in Brussels on 21 November to warn Brussels counterparts that the very existence of the small group of media which are not part of the quasi-monopoly of Delyan Peevski, a shady power broker, is under threat by all the instruments of the state power, and in particular the prosecutor general.
Peevski is a controversial businessman and media mogul who is in the centre of many scandals in Bulgaria in recent years. Media ownership in Bulgaria is extremely opaque, but it’s an open secret that he controls a vast majority of media, friendly to Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and his GERB party, including a distribution system unfair to the competition of media outside his group. Capital and Dnevnik are among the few media outside Peevski’s monopoly.