Without exception, the history of the last quarter century of Central and Eastern Europe has again furnished the clearest and most convincing proof of the well established view that revolutions almost always have been followed by restorations rooted in deep seated past mentalities and practices. Having been first brutalized by the Stalinist regimes of the 1950s and 1960s, and later completely disillusioned by the faithless crypto communist hypocrites of hopeless stagnation, the peoples of the former Soviet empire plunged into the ethical equivalent of base immorality. Adding insult to injury, loyalty to the dictators and the authorities was measured not by honesty and professionalism but by total devotion to the cause without any scruples or consciences objections. Indeed, the glue that kept the Soviet Union and its so-called empire together was the Faustian bargain between the rulers and the ruled. Accordingly, a scoundrel was far less dangerous than a dissatisfied honest individual.
Communist Bulgaria seized to exist in February 1990, when the Communist Party was forced by the overwhelming majority of the people to relinquish its monopoly on power. Yet, as a result of free elections, held in June 1990, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, essentially the old Communist Party, obtained 47.2% of the votes that, in turn, gave them absolute majority with 211 seats in the 400 members Grand National Assembly. However, the ex-Communists were incapable of harmonizing the old and new political, economic, social, and cultural policies, and to uphold the balance between the legislative and executive powers. Thus, their vacillation, instead of mitigating the problems of the transition, aggravated it. The anti-Communist Union of Democratic Forces did not fare better when they took office between 1991 and 1992.
The scourge of the botched privatization, resulted in the return of the Socialist Party to power in 1994. Again, the inability of the old Communist cadres to transform Bulgaria from a dictatorship to a democracy and free market economy created hyperinflation and financial disasters at home, and almost total isolation abroad. As a result, amidst continuing national protests, the second Socialist government collapsed in 1997. The second Democratic government, headed by Ivan Kostov, was suffering from incompetence and the ever present ghost of corruption. Dissatisfied with both the former Communists and the new Democrats, the electorate gave a landslide victory to the last king Simeon II, whose National Movement followed a strictly pro-Western course between 2001 and 2005. Under his premiership Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004.
Yet, in spite of an improving economy, the parliamentary elections of 2005 did not yield the same absolute majority to Simeon II. Thus, an uneasy coalition among the Socialists, Simeon II, and the newly emerging Movement for Rights and Freedoms was formed under the leadership of Sergei Stanishev. Although Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, irreconcilable ideological differences, compounded by the world financial crisis, doomed the coalition government. In the resulting national elections in 2009, the center-right party, named Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, won 117 seats in the 240 seats unicameral legislature. The Socialists were reduced to 40 seats. The new government of Boyko Borisov successfully implemented fiscal discipline that reduced the budget deficit by a significant percentage.
Prime Minister Borisov’s administration also introduced major administrative reforms and tackled the scourge of privatization with remarkable success. But as a result of strict austerity measures, his government fell on February 20, 2013, amidst sustained street protests.
Following a short hiatus, Mr. Borisov returned to power after winning the national elections in 2014. His second coalition government resigned when his party’s candidate for the 2016 presidential elections, Mrs. Tsetska Tsacheva, lost to the Socialist supported Rumen Radev. Campaigning as the head of a caretaker government for an accelerated economic development and closer EU cooperation, Mr. Borisov won an unprecedented third term as Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Borisov’s third coalition government faces substantial challenges. First, he has to change the entrenched mentality by the majority of his people, expecting to provide security from the cradle to the grave. Second, he must complete the reform of the executive branch. Third, he has to speed up economic and financial reforms that should bring his country closer to the leading states of the European Union. And finally, he has to fight decisively the criminal organizations, specifically rogue businessmen like Tsvetan Vassilev who, as the former Chairman of the Supervisory Board and the main shareholder of the now bankrupt Corporate Commercial Bank, is alleged to have embezzled close to 1.5 billion Euros. If proven guilty by the courts, Mr. Vassilev’s crimes might turn out to constitute the biggest financial fraud in the post-Communist history of Bulgaria. Since the summer of 2014, Mr. Vassilev has been ensconced as a refugee from justice in Belgrade, Serbia. From there, he has been fighting extradition to his homeland.
Essentially, the saga of Mr. Vassilev’s rise to becoming one of the richest man in Bulgaria and his spectacular fall from grace in June 2014, stands as a glaring example of the inherent depravity and criminal corruption of the Communist/Socialist model. Conversely, it demonstrates the enormity of challenges that the new, democratically elected governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe face in their attempts to create an improved culture of public and private decency. In this respect, the current Bulgarian government is no exception.
In May 2000, Mr. Vassilev left Central Cooperative Bank AD where from 1995 he headed the Bank’s Foreign Currency Transactions and Liquidity Department and was a member of the Board of Directors too. Simultaneously, while working for the Bank, Mr. Vassilev has headed, as the sole owner, his private financial company, Fina S AD. During his tenure with the Bank, he transferred gradually approximately thirty employees, who were his subordinates, to his financial company. Shortly thereafter, he went on to acquire the Corporate Commercial Bank AD, which then was the smallest bank in Bulgaria with a measly $5.5 million in assets. Corporate Commercial Bank AD was incorporated with Decree No. 1 of the Sofia City Court on June 6, 1994, as the successor of Bulgarsofinvest, which was incorporated first in 1980, and then again on November 11, 1988. First, Mr. Vassilev became the Executive Director of the Management Board. While retaining this position, on July 18, 2003, Mr. Vassilev was named Chairman of the Bank’s Supervisory Board. Again, throughout his tenure with this Bank, Mr. Vassilev continued to manage his private financial company, Fina S AD. Another company of Mr. Vassilev’s, Bromak EOOD became the majority shareholder of the Bank with over fifty percent ownership. Thus, the stage was set for Mr. Vassilev to exercise uncontrolled reign over the Corporate Commercial Bank AD’s assets.
His scheme was as simple as it was daring. Mr. Vassilev established over hundred onshore and offshore companies. Legally, these companies were unrelated to the Corporate Commercial Bank AD. However, through their actual owner, namely Mr. Vassilev, these companies were ensured exclusive access to the Bank and its investment activities by the majority owner, who was again Mr. Vassilev. Under such a “personal union” of the Bank and Mr. Vassilev’s countless offshore and onshore companies a “free for Mr. Vassilev” mentality and mechanism were created.
Under the absolute authority of Mr. Vassilev, the Bank’s funds were used to finance a slew of companies, seemingly unrelated to the Bank, but in reality under his sole ownership and control, by running the loans through one of the many shell companies that Mr. Vassilev’s underlings established. Following this first step, the loans were sent to other actually functioning companies with real business, also under the sole ownership of Mr. Vassilev, to fund their various activities. In this manner, the leader of the Bank, the owner of all the companies, and the authorizing person was exclusively Mr. Vassilev. His business philosophy communicated on a daily basis to his employees by him was: “In this company (meaning the sum of both the Bank and all his companies) there are no superiors. I am the only boss, but each of you is as important as his tasks are.” In short, he commands and everybody shall obey without any reservation.
All of Mr. Vassilev’s companies were headed by his trusted lieutenants. Their function was to carry out Mr. Vassilev’s direct daily orders to the last letter. In this manner, ownership and management of the companies were seemingly separated and the loans from the bank, which actually were investments, could have been classified as “external” instead of “internal”. This charade was justified by Mr. Vassilev to his underlings as necessary to circumvent the statutory lending limits to a single individual and to closely held, and personally owned legal entities. Indeed, the Corporate Commercial Bank AD became a purely lending institutions to Mr Vassilev’s companies. Whenever, one of Mr. Vassilev’s companies needed money, he issued orders verbally either personally or by phone. Based on his commanding dual position, the Bank’s funds were immediately released to the intended company. Since most of his companies were unprofitable, the aggregate amount of funds quickly grew larger and larger. Thus, by covering the losses of those “fake” businesses, the resources of the Bank were gradually exhausted.
To add insult to injury, Mr. Vassilev started to sponsor politicians with the clear intent to corrupt them. Moreover, in order to conceal his nefarious activities, he became a patron to numerous cultural, scientific, and sport related establishments and organizations. Naturally, the number of companies multiplied accordingly. On June 20, 2014, when Mr. Vassilev’s scheme collapsed, the number of companies exceeded one hundred. In the first group were the phantom companies. These companies served no business purpose, but were established to legitimize the shareholders of the companies with actual business activities. The latter comprised the second group of companies. Yet, behind the facade of business activities even these companies were designed to satisfy Mr. Vassilev’s personal investment and individual needs. For these reasons, these companies were “over credited” and plundered by Mr. Vassilev personally.
In order to document and to legitimize the loans that were already granted and paid out, Mr. Vassilev employed an army of lawyers and people whose only responsibility was to “service” the loans, which were largely approved without collateral or economic justification. Under the term “servicing the loans” was the activity of concealing the source of the money, namely the Bank. Secondarily, the fraudulent scheme of “servicing the loans” entailed the fictitious banking activity that allowed maturity payments on interests to be paid for by the Bank itself.
Even more egregious was the frequent cash payments provided by the Bank to Mr. Vassilev’s personal use. The modus operandi for removing cash from the vault was again as simple as it was daring. In the first instance, the money was provided to Mr. Vassilev from the account of one of his “ghost” companies through fictitious credit from the Bank, which in turn, was channeled to one of Mr. Vassilev’s companies with actual business in the form of “loan agreement.” For monies thus taken out of the vault Mr. Vassilev signed so-called “order receipts”, which obviously created an ever expanding huge hole in the Bank’s assets.
All these illegal activities could not have been carried out successfully for so many years without the complicity of several employees of the Bulgarian National Bank and the equally corrupt behavior of the employees of the auditing firm KPMG Bulgaria OOD. Encompassing the period between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014, the Bulgarian National Bank carried out two inspections at the Corporate Commercial Bank AD, which by law should have included the examination of the Bank’s management activities, the Bank’s capital adequacy, and the various types of risks associated with credits, liquidity, and market risk. In addition, during the above mentioned time frame, less comprehensive inspections by the Bulgarian National Bank were conducted. Significantly, those inspections did not extend to the examination of the Bank’s risk management.
The first inspection was completed more than a year after its initial commencement on March 11, 2010. Generally, the auditors of the Bulgarian National Bank found everything in order. The auditors made some recommendations concerning risk classification of some loan exposures, but failed to follow up on their implementation.
The second inspection took place in 2013. Its conclusions were extremely favorable to the Corporate Commercial Bank AD. This inspection was headed by Slavyana Danailova-Veleva, a close friend of the Vassilev family. In addition to numerous violations of the law and her mandate, Mrs. Danailova-Veleva provided false information in her supervisory opinion regarding the non-satisfactory implementation of the Bulgarian National Bank’s previous recommendations, the chaotic financial status in the credit files, the abysmal quality of legal briefs, etc. As a result, her inspections failed to point out the existence of relationships among the same business groups and the high-risk quality of the loans granted. Finally, her report was totally silent about the illegal capital base increase of the Bank under Mr. Vassilev’s leadership.
Under these circumstances it is little wonder that the second pillar of the Bank’s supervisory element also failed miserably. The internal financial audit system of the Bank should have examined four factors. First, identifying and assessing the risks for material errors throughout the process of lending. Second, to collect evidence related to the first phase. Third, should have entailed the auditor’s objective and professional judgment. Fourth, the auditor’s report should have been made public. With Mr. Vassilev at the helm, the internal financial audit system was for all practical purposes non-existent.
The final element in the chain of professional cover ups were the sham audits performed by KPMG Bulgaria OOD. Essentially, its auditors relied completely on the Corporate Commercial Bank AD’s internal control and thus reviewed only indirect evidence of the control procedures and the Bank’s lending activities. Practically, therefore, the auditors did not perform their own independent investigation. In spite of these shortcomings, the auditors identified indicators of potential fraud in lending, such as lack of or delayed posting of collaterals, lack of fair market value of those collaterals, suspicious repeated renegotiations of loans prior to the end of the grace period, lack of cash flow analysis to show income generation, and lack of the ability to repay the loan.
However and contrary to their legal obligations, the auditors did not listed those illegal lending activities in their final supervisory report. As further dereliction of their statutory obligation, the auditors, Mrs. Margarita Goleva and Mr. Krassimir Hadzhidinev, did not report their actual findings to the Banking Supervision Unit of the Bulgarian National Bank. The explanation for their illegal conduct might lie with the fact that Mrs. Margarita Goleva and Mr. Vassilev frequently traveled together. According to Mr. Orlin Rusev, an employee of Mr. Vassilev, she was also a frequent guest at the Vassilev’s house. The same gentleman was also aware that Mrs. Goleva received regular cash payments from Mr. Vassilev through companies controlled by the latter. Ironically, KPMG Bulgaria OOD’s last report on April 15, 2014, only two months before the Corporate Commercial Bank AD’s collapse, gave a clean bill of health to Mr. Vassilev’s Bank. The subsequent investigation of Mr. Vassilev and his companions revealed that neither were the audits done lawfully, nor were the two auditors independent from Mr. Vassilev’s control.
Subsequent to the Bank’s collapse in June 2014, two independent audits were performed. The first audit was performed by the auditing firms Ernst & Young Audit OOD, Deloitte Bulgaria OOD, and AFA OOD respectively. Their joint conclusion was that the activities of the Bank were aimed at covering up the real purpose of deals and transactions. The financial statements filed by the management of the Bank were “unfaithful” and “misleading.” The same criticism applied to the Bulgarian National Bank’s Supervisory Directorate. The second audit was prepared by AlixPartners Services UK LLP, which issued an over five hundred pages report on May 3, 2016. The report stated that the Corporate Commercial Bank AD operated as a financial pyramid and described in great detail the technique of siphoning off monies. Thus, the monies disappeared through large loans to companies owned by the majority owner of the Bank Mr. Vassilev. According to the report, Mr. Vassilev used the Bank for “personal transactions.” Two hundred forty three corporate clients of the Bank had four hundred seventy two outstanding loans. These loans were judged to be unrecoverable, because they were provided to non-functioning companies or lacked any or very little collateral. Eight of Mr. Vassilev’s companies, among them Petrol, BTC, Vivacom, and the Serbian glass factory in Paracin, consumed more than one billion PGN. The report placed the blame squarely on the Bank’s Management Board and the Bulgarian National Bank. Finally, the report also blamed KPMG Bulgaria OOD for having prepared “negligent” auditors’ reports.
The scandal over the Corporate Commercial Bank AD erupted suddenly at the beginning of June 2014. Within a week, more than twenty percent of the deposits were removed from the Bank. On June 16, 2014, the Executive Director of the Bank Mr. Orlin Rusev was summoned to the Bulgarian National Bank’s offices. Upon the inquiries by two top officials Mr. Rusev admitted that the Bank could not survive an additional run on its deposits. On June 17, 2014, Mr. Rusev and a confidant of Mr. Vassilev, Mr. Biser Lazov, held a meeting, in which the former informed the latter that the Bulgarian National Bank will place the Bank under special supervision. On June 18, 2014, representatives of the Bank requested from the Bulgarian National Bank two hundred fifty million Levs. Mr. Ivan Iskrov and Mr. Dimitar Kostov of the Bulgarian National Bank rejected the Bank’s request. On June 20, 2014, Mr. Rusev flew to Vienna, Austria, to inform Mr. Vassilev of the Bulgarian National Bank’s decision. On the same day, the Bulgarian national Bank placed the Corporate Commercial Bank AD under special supervision.
On June 21, 2014, Mr. Vassilev called Mr. Lazov and instructed him to travel to Vienna, Austria, for a meeting. Mr. Lazov, accompanied by Valery Karadachki, Managing Director for Infrastructure Company AD, met Mr. Vassilev and his attorney Lyubomir Denev in a private home in Vienna, Austria. At that meeting, Mr. Vassilev expressed his intention to repay the Bank all the loans to his companies as well as the cash payments to his companies and to him personally. He also made a verbal commitment to transfer the ownerships of his companies to the Bank. Mr. Vassilev also stated that he has no intention to return to Bulgaria. At the closing of the meeting, Mr. Vassilev refused to sign the prepared documents concerning the debts that he accumulated. Before departing, Mr. Lazov declared to Mr. Vassilev that “you are no longer my boss, you are nobody for me.” The next day, Mr. Denev, Mr. Vassilev’s attorney, called Mr. Lazov and asked him to call Mr. Vassilev on his landline phone. When Mr. Lazov declined the request, Mr. Vassilev called him on his cell phone. During this conversation, Mr. Vassilev ordered Mr. Lazov to instruct several employees of Mr. Vassilev’s private companies to prepare the documents regarding the transfer of the named companies to the Bank. Again, Mr. Lazov refused to follow Mr. Vassilev’s orders. Upon which Mr. Vassilev asked Mr. Lazov: “If by tonight I provide you with the signed documents that remained with me in Vienna, will you play with me?” Mr. Lazov replied that Mr. Vassilev shall return to Bulgaria and take full responsibility for the collapse of the Bank.
Mr. Lazov suggestion did not sit well with Mr. Vassilev. A series of actions to discredit Mr. Lazov followed. Mr. Vassilev’s slanderous campaign culminated in a letter published in the “Faktor bg”, a Bulgarian language web site. In it Mr. Vassilev claimed that Mr. Lazov was greeted at the airport by some mysterious people who convinced him to bear false witness to what really happened at the meeting in Vienna, Austria. In addition, Mr. Vassilev paid 210,000.00 Levs in cash to an attorney named Lazar Karadaliev by Mr. Veselin Bushev, a confidant of Mr. Vassilev, as a “prophylactic measure” against Mr. Lazov. To top this intimidation campaign, Mr. Lazov and several former employees of Mr. Vassilev received death threats from unknown individuals.
Simultaneously, Mr. Vassilev has financed an intensive international campaign, mainly in the United States. Heading this public relations campaign has been Mr. William Richardson, former Congressman and Governor of New Mexico, Ambassador to the United Nations, Energy Secretary under President Clinton, and Special Envoy to handle individual humanitarian matters. Without mentioning any facts, Mr. Richardson has depicted Mr. Vassilev as a victim of Bulgarian politicians who, for unexplainable reasons, formed a criminal cabal to destroy a hard working, honest, and professionally highly competent banker and businessman. In his September 13, 2017, article in The Hill, Mr. Richardson first alluded to his previous opinion piece, in which he called attention to the recent expansion of the Magnitsky Act. Designed to sanction political and financial miscreants worldwide, Mr. Richardson has lobbied to declare Mr. Vassilev a victim of the despotic and corrupt government of Bulgaria, and as a consequence has called for the application of the Magnitsky Act against the latter.
The filing under this Act was already done by the Washington, DC firm JWI Inc. In this filing the firm specifically named two individuals, Mr. Sotir Tsatsarov, the Chief Prosecutor of Bulgaria, and Mr. Delyan Peevski, a member of the Bulgarian Parliament. Both, Mr. Richardson and JWI Inc. have claimed that Mr. Vassilev is innocent and only being prosecuted, or as they put it “persecuted”, because he has waged an uncompromising war against a “broad spectrum of the incumbent Bulgarian kleptocracy.” Furthermore, the filling and Mr. Richardson’s most recent article have claimed that “….Following the Corporate Commercial Bank AD Board Chairman’s strenuous plea for the Bank’s return, he was charged with the crime of embezzlement – in spite of overwhelming evidence that absolutely no assets ever disappeared from the bank.” Mr. Richardson’s story is faulty in at least two aspects. First, there is overwhelming evidence that Mr. Vassilev committed the crime of embezzlement, which is enshrined in Articles 203 and 253 of the Criminal Code of Bulgaria. Moreover, Mr. Richardson has failed to mention the more serious crime of money laundering for which Mr. Vassilev is still being investigated in two countries. Second, his statement has gone against the well-documented audit reports of several internationally recognized accounting companies. These companies definitely could not be accused of belonging to “the incumbent Bulgarian kleptocrats.” Finally, relying on unsubstantiated rumors, Mr. Richardson has accused Mr. Peevski of running a tobacco-smuggling operation with unnamed terrorist organizations.
In closing, Mr. Richardson has issued a direct warning and a threat to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov: “With his leadership of the European Union (referring to Bulgaria’s assumption of the rotating presidency of the EU on January 1, 2018, the author’s comment) squarely on the horizon, Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov can assert his prerogative to stand against the plague of institutional corruption and usher in a new era of rectitude. The case of Tzvetan Vassilev’s persecution has devolved into the most egregious example of political wrongdoing in the country. Borisov would be wise to begin the remediation process by moving to dismiss the cluster of vindictive prosecution afflicting Vassilev’s family. But time is definitely of the essence, and Borisov’s window of opportunity to correct a major national injustice will last only until the U.S. government acts on the GMA filings of Tsatsarov and Peevski.” It is only hoped that the Trump Administration would form its collective opinion based on facts and not based on the amount of money paid to JWI Inc. and others by Mr. Vassilev.
Meanwhile, back in Bulgaria, the Specialized Prosecution Office completed its investigation into the failed Corporate Commercial Bank AD. As a result, Mr. Vassilev and his seventeen codefendants were indicted. The final indictment contains over five thousand pages. During the investigation more than four hundred witnesses were questioned. About twenty seven experts submitted approximately ninety written reports. The defendants will be tried by the Specialized Criminal Court in Sofia. Mr. Vassilev, who is a fugitive from justice, has been prosecuted and indicted in absentia. The charges against Mr. Vassilev and his codefendants are based on Articles 203 and 253 of the Criminal Code of Bulgaria. Both articles define embezzlement, called misappropriation of funds. All eighteen defendants are charged with embezzlement of 2.56 billion Levs, the equivalent of $1.51 billion. In addition, Mr. Vassilev and three former Corporate Commercial Bank AD employees are indicted for stealing 207 million Levs in cash, the equivalent of $126.6 million. Finally, Mr. Vassilev is investigated for money laundering both in Bulgaria as well as in the Duchy of Luxemburg. Indictments for money laundering have been issued against Mr. Vassilev’s wife and daughter, Radoslava Vasileva too. The money laundering charges against the wife Mrs. Antoaneta Vassileva are based on her purchase of a palatial twenty million Euros estate at Lake Geneva. The daughter, who is living in London, has also been charged with money laundering, because she purchased two expensive homes in Sofia and in London respectively. The Bulgarian government requested Mr. Vassilev’s extradition by the Serbian government. Thus far, the Serbian courts of first instance approved, while the appellate courts blocked Mr. Vassilev’s extradition.
Mr. Richardson and JWI Inc. have been doing their utmost to portray Mr. Vassilev, his wife, and his daughter as innocent victims of the Bulgarian political and business elite. They have lobbied members of Congress and have tried to convince several cabinet members and subcabinet appointees to support their effort to fight corruption and to promote universal human rights in Bulgaria by invoking the “Global Magnitsky Act” on behalf of Mr. Vassilev. Thus far, their efforts have been unsuccessful. The latest list of alleged individuals unjustly persecuted across the globe, submitted by more than twenty human rights organizations to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act on September 12, 2017, does not include Mr. Vassilev’s name.
In his initial report to Congress on the implementation of the Global Magnitsky Act on April 20, 2017, President Trump stated that his administration will pursue cases under this Act in a robust fashion. Yet, this Act could not and should not serve as a tool in the hands of lobbyists and prominent politicians to generate huge amounts of money for themselves. Moreover, these efforts should not run counter to the United States’ foreign policy principles and objectives.
During his presidential campaign, in his inauguration speech, and all of his public utterances since taking office, President Trump has promised the country and the rest of the world that he will make “America great again.” A substantial part of this “greatness” is the exemplary moral authority that the United States shall project in a principled and just manner. Only in this way could the United States exert its intellectual influence on those who have gotten disillusioned with politics as usual both at home and abroad. In implementing the Global Magnitsky Act, President Trump and his administration shall rely on the Preamble of the Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America.”
Because of having followed the political principles enshrined in the Constitution, today, the United States is already the greatest nation in the world. Yet, because no country and no politician is perfect, the United States must not squander its moral authority. In the concrete case of Mr. Vassilev and his family, Congress and the Trump Administration shall allow the competent authorities in Bulgaria to follow the law and carry out their responsibilities accordingly. Based on the overwhelming evidence, justice shall be administered where the alleged crimes have been committed.
In case the Bulgarian authorities should abuse their own laws, these two branches still could intervene and give expression to their opinions in this matter. However, for the time being, the United States shall not intervene in the criminal process of a friendly country whose full integration into the European Union and NATO is of vital importance. Where pressure shall be applied by both the European Union and the United States is against the Republic of Serbia that shall extradite Mr. Vassilev to face justice where the alleged crimes were committed. Only in this manner, would the case of Mr. Vassilev and his codefendant be solved to the satisfaction of Bulgarian and global justice.