Chess

Vladimir Sakotic linked with ghost ECU in Delaware

sahThe European Chess Union has issued agenda and annexes for the ECU General Assembly 2016 which will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan on Saturday 10th of September 2016.

Point 7. of the agenda is as follows: ECU Board motion against the Bulgarian Chess Federation membership

ECU Board unanimously decided to propose to the ECU General Assembly 2016 the suspension of the Bulgarian Chess Federation from ECU, according to the Articles 7(a) and 7(b) – Membership of the ECU Memorandum and Articles of Association.

According to the Article 7(b), the General Assembly shall hear oral representations on behalf of the Board and the Bulgarian Chess Federation.

In case the ECU General Assembly decides in favor of the suspension, the ECU Board will examine the possibility that the Bulgarian chess players will still be able to participate individually in European Championships under the ECU or FIDE flag.

The motion is backed by “ECU notice & exhibits sent to the Bulgarian Chess Federation (annexes 6a & 6b)” and “written answer received from the Bulgarian Chess Federation (annex 7)”

Annex 6b is a massive 122-page report No.DI1SF – 18/16.02.2016 by the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance – Agency for State Financial Inspection from 16th February 2016, Entr.No. 1-077.035.

The subject scope of this Public Financial Inspection was: “Checking the legality and documentary support related to the financial relationships between the Association “Bulgarian Chess Federation” and “European Chess Union” in terms of funding received from the Ministry of Youth and Sport in 2014 under contracts No.36-00-14 /21.04.2014 and No.36-00-381 /05.08.2014.

From page 96 the report states that the accounting documentation of Bulgarian Chess Federation contains no originals of invoices based on which BCF made payments to ghost company ECU Delaware under the contract for organizer of ghost tournaments “European Individual Cups for men and women 2014″.

However, the BCF records contain “color documents of invoices on paper bearing the letterhead of European Chess Union containing visibly uniform illegible signature on all invoices, the name of CEO of European Chess Union – Vladimir Sakotic and blue print seal of ECU”.

Each such invoice coming from Vladimir Sakotic contains the same bank account under which to be transferred the amounts, namely:
A Banka DD Ljubljana, Slovenska 50, Ljubljana, Slovenia, account of the recipient No.SI*******; European Chess Union, 16192 Coastal Highway, Lewis Delaware.

Under the five aforementioned invoices a total 147,800 euros are transferred to ghost ECU Delaware, of which:
- For host fee (advance and surcharge) – 2 invoices for a total of 60,000 EUR
- Organizational fee – 1 invoice for 30,000 EUR
- Fee for players with titles GM/IM/FM (advance and surcharge) – 2 invoices for a total of 57,800 EUR

Before payments written orders are issued for the transfer by the BCF Executive Director Nikolay Velchev.

These invoices bear no clarification on how they calculated the amounts invoiced and according to which financial regulations of the European Chess Union the amounts are due.

The conclusion of the Inspection is that invoices with specified address of the holder of the bank account (Slovenia, Delaware), other than the address of the ECU (Switzerland) failed to meet the requirements of Bulgarian Accounting Act.

All the above refers only to a small portion of the report dealing with “European Individual Cups for men and women 2014″. These ghost events are also being investigated by Interpol (PDF file).

The report examined 467,000 EUR that BCF received from Bulgarian Ministry of Youth and Sport only in 2014.

The investigation into earlier years 2012 and 2013 is just starting. In total Bulgarian State has paid to BCF around 1,5 million EUR for international competitions, most of the sum seeming then to be transferred to bank accounts in Slovenia belonging to an offshore company in Delaware.

Vladimir Sakotic is also involved in Budva case and in the Serbian chess scene, holding in his possession the documents that belong to the Serbian Chess Federation but were never filed in federation records. These documents were signed by former SCF president Miroslav Kopanja.

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