Specialized Court holds sitting till midnight Sunday to speed up EVN trial against Ivo Prokopiev

Ivo Prokopiev

The Specialized Penal Court held a sitting till midnight on Sunday and removed three witnesses for the defense to speed up the trial for the deal to privatize the 33% state-owned share of the power distribution company EVN. The trial is against Economedia publisher Ivo Prokopiev, former economy and finance ministers Traycho Traykov and Simeon Dyankov.

The trail is one of the notorious trials, championed by the former Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov, and continued with much the same enthusiasm by his successor, Ivan Geshev.

The closing statements began during an emergency sitting this Saturday, June 20. The entire sitting took the staggering 14 hours to come to an end. The court has not made any attempts to speed up the trial until Judge Velislava Angelova suddenly removed three witnesses for the defense and the trial moved to closing statements. The prosecutors’ closing statements lasted six hours. They want sentences between three and six years for Prokopiev, Dyankov and Traykov and between one and three for the other three defendants.

According to the prosecution, the defendants – Prokopiev, Traykov, Dyankov, along with three employees of one of Prokopiev’s companies, BlueBrokers – are responsible for financial damages to the state in closing the deal for the privatization of the state -owned share of EVN back in 2011. The prosecutors argue the defendants had intentionally lowered the share value of the company, which was sold through the stock exchange.

Ivo Prokopiev is one of the owners of Economedia, which publishes Capital Weekly, Dnevnik.bg – news outlets frequently mentioned by the Prosecutor General, his predecessor and high-ranking members of the executive branch as foes. Prokopiev is accused of aiding the alleged price lowering of the EVN shares on the market. The charge rests on a statement Prokopiev made during one of the meetings of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation.

"This is what I do not understand. How can there be a charge for expressing an opinion and an explanation? I did not understand it when the charge was brought up, as I don’t understand it now, after 25 sittings of this trial, during which my name came up only twice.", Prokopiev told the court.

The court is expected to deliver its verdict next Sunday.

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