(Adds detail, background)
By Angel Krasimirov
SOFIA Aug 25 The majority owner of Bulgaria's
troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank) said on
Monday it was working with Oman's sovereign wealth fund and
other interested investors to restructure the lender.
Corpbank's fate has been in limbo since June, when a run on
deposits prompted the central bank to seize control of it and
close its operations, sparking the worst banking crisis in the
poor Black Sea state since 1990s.
Tsvetan Vassilev's Bromak owns just over half of Corpbank,
the Balkan country's fourth-largest lender. Oman's sovereign
wealth fund is the second-biggest shareholder with a stake of
about 30 percent.
The central bank said on Friday it had asked the two
shareholders to unveil plans for the bank's rescue by the end of
"I believe we are close to unveiling a decision in principle
for the bank's rehabilitation that will fully comply with the
legal requirements for capital adequacy and liquidity," Bromak
owner Vassilev said in a statement posted on his personal
Two days after Bulgarian Interim Prime Minister Georgi
Bliznashki said an unidentified fund based in Vienna had
expressed interest in rescuing the bank, the central bank said
it had sent letters to the two shareholders.
The central bank said in its statement that Bromak had not
yet notified it of any initiative regarding support for Corpbank
nor had Bromak sought information on the financial state of the
On Monday, Vassilev said the central bank had not asked him
to present a plan, branding this as an attempt to avoid
responsibility for its handling of the case during special
Bulgarian prosecutors have charged Vassilev with
embezzlement and said that an international warrant for his
arrest had been issued.
Vassilev, whose current whereabouts are unknown, was locked
in a public feud with a rival at the time of the run on
Corpbank. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said the
run was a plot hatched by his competitors.
"My role and attention in the current moment is focused on
presenting an overall concept plan and coordinating the steps to
exit the crisis by finding an adequate balance between capital
adequacy and liquidity, including through the provision of
liquid assets, which used to be financed by the bank so far,
which would facilitate future investors in their decision to
take part in the restructuring," Vassilev said.
Also on Monday, Bulgaria's Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev
accused the central bank of inaction.
"The Bulgarian National Bank is in a state of total
passivity on the case of Corpbank," Penchev said.
"Unfortunately, we are going nowhere with Corpbank's case.
BNB keeps explaining that nothing can be done. This is not
The central bank was not immediately available to comment.
Earlier this month, the central bank allowed some banking
activities to resume so borrowers could repay loans to the bank
but deposits remain frozen.
(Writing by Radu Marinas; Editing by Toby Chopra)