Vassil Bozhkov said he paid in cash "comfort fee" to officials

He published bank statements showing he withdrew millions in cash in January 2018

One of the pages from the comix Vassil Bozhkov released Monday

The former lottery mogul, who is now charged on multiple counts of tax fraud, extortion, heading a criminal organization group and more, and currently residing in Dubai, released a new portion of claims regarding the alleged corruptive relationship he has had with officials over the years.

Bozhkov owned the largest private lottery games in Bulgaria before the ruling party suddenly introduced a bill to Parliament providing all lottery type games become a state monopoly. The bill, which would cancel one of Bozhkov’s main businesses was passed and enacted in record time. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor’s Office charged him with multiple crimes, and went on to confiscate much of his famous antique collection. Bozhkov claimed a while back that one of the rythons from his collection has even emerged on the free market.

This Monday, Bozhkov released a comix, entitled the Real Story, featuring himself as Ali Baba, PM Boyko Borissov, as The Chief, Finance Minister Vladislav Gouranov, as the Under Chief of Finance, former opposition MP Georgi Kadiev as the Opposition Thief and the head of the Parliamentary Budget Committee Menda Stoyanova, as the Finance Legislator Thief. In the story the character, reminiscent of Kadiev proposes a bill, which would tax the gambling sector 15%, whereby excluding it from the all-round 10% flat tax in Bulgaria. In the comix, the Chief character then calls Ali Baba aside and assures him he would insure the bill does not pass in exchange for "help later". Ali Baba asked what sort of help, but the Chief does not say. The Chief sends Ali Baba to the Finance Legislator Thief to work out the details. A new bill is produced, which would not raise the tax for the lotteries. Then the Under Chief of Finance tells Ali Baba would have to pay 20% of his profits or else the current law will be revoked.

The next day Vassil Bozhkov published a "translation of the story", along with bank statements, which show several withdraws from Bozhkov’s personal account from January 2018, amounting to 2,7 million leva. Bozhkov shared the screenshots of the banks statements on social media together with a caption, saying that the tax revision, which Finance Minister Vladislav Gouranov has appointed to Bozhkov will reveal that "after paying all my taxes I withdrew large sums in cash from my personal account". Bozhkov claims all his other expenses are paid through bank transfers and ends with a rhetorical "These funds are not on hand. Where are they?"

The "translation" is a timeline featuring the characters from the story but this time with their real names.

Almost immediately after the posts, the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office published pictures of antiques, which they claim are from Bozhkov’s basement. The Specialized Prosecutor’s Office claims in its press release the antiques are cultural heritage pieces, which "have been stored in violation to all international standards for their preservation."

Bozhkov took to social media immediately, claiming the pictures are old and staged at the direction of prosecutors, during the raid at the foundation, which formally owns the antique collection. Blogger Valentin Stoykov published a post according to which the metadata of the pictures showed February 5 as file creation date. The site Bivol.bg confirmed the find on their Facebook page.

Bozhkov announced last week he will file a lawsuit for the "unlawful confiscation and unknown fate" of his antiques. Staging photos of pieces on the ground and basement, which he alleges prosecutors did during the raid at the foundation, is also part of the lawsuit, Bozhkov said.

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