Following the discussion held at the FIDE General Assembly (FIDE GA) in Baku earlier this month, FIDE publishes a timeline of the facts on the basis of which a significant number of complaints and allegations have been brought over the past two years before its organs, namely the Ethics Commission (ETH) and FIDE GA, concerning the Bulgarian Chess Federation (BCF) and members of BCF’s administration.
Financial and administrative irregularities during the organisation of the 2013 European Youth Chess Championship in Budva: A number of financial and administrative irregularities and violations during the organization of the 2013 European Youth Chess Championship in Budva, Montenegro were discovered by the current administration of ECU and Montenegro Chess Federation that decided to submit complaints to ETH (ETH cases nr. 13/2014 and 14/2014) and to initiate parallel investigations before the competent local national authorities.
Establishment of an imposter company in Delaware: As regards the mentioned financial and administrative irregularities, it has been proven that a fictitious entity under the corporate name “European Chess Union LLC” (ECU LLC) was established by unknown persons in Delaware/USA, with which ECU, the continental association affiliated with FIDE, has no connection.
Opening of at least one bank account connected to the imposter ECU LLC, issuance of false/fictitious invoices and directing of payments: Moreover, it has been demonstrated that at least one bank account was opened for the fake ECU LLC. This bank account was opened by unknown persons in Slovenia and a number of payments were directed, on the basis of false/fictitious invoices to the account of the fake ECU LLC.
ETH decision and sanctions: In connection with the mentioned financial and administrative irregularities, members of the ECU administration at the time of the irregularities also holding offices in their respective national chess federations, namely former ECU President and President of Bulgarian Chess Federation Mr. Silvio Danailov, former ECU General Secretary Ms. Sava Stoisavljevic and former ECU Executive Director and President of Montenegro Chess Federation Mr. Vladimir Sakotic were found guilty of breaching the FIDE Code of Ethics and sanctions were imposed on them pursuant to ETH Decision of 9.9.2016.
More specifically, as regards the sanctions imposed, Mr. S. Danailov is suspended for a period of eighteen (18) months from holding any office or position within FIDE, as well as from participating in any meeting of FIDE as delegate or in any other capacity. This suspension does not preclude Mr. Danailov from exercising his powers as BCF President within Bulgaria internally, but he shall not represent BCF externally in its relations with FIDE. Mr. V. Sakotic and Ms. Sava Stoisavljevic are suspended for a period of three (3) years and six (6) months respectively from holding any office or position within FIDE, from participating in any meeting of FIDE as delegate or another capacity, as well as representing any organisation in its relations with FIDE. In all the above instances, reference to FIDE includes its member federations, continental associations and other affiliated international organisations.
Unlawful ban of Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov: Following a press conference given by Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov in Bulgaria in May 2015 disclosing information on irregularities concerning tournaments organized in Albena and Golden Sands in 2014, the aforementioned persons were banned by the BCF for 3 and 5 years respectively without being afforded the right to be heard and without charges, for violation of the BCF Statutes and Code of Ethics due to the public criticism expressed by them against the BCF administration and management. Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov successfully challenged BCF’s decision before the Bulgarian Courts (first instance) and submitted a complaint before the ETH (ETH case nr. 4/2015).
ETH decision and sanctions: In connection with the above, the ETH found that the BCF Managing Committee, in suspending all the rights of participation in chess activities in Bulgaria of Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov, failed to prosecute the alleged violations in compliance with fundamental principles of law. The ETH therefore nullified the sanctions imposed by the BCF on Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov on 5.6.2015 and decided to conduct anew an enquiry in regard to the alleged violations (ETH decision of 15.06.2016).
Failure of BCF to challenge ETH decision before the CAS: BCF did not elect to challenge ETH decision of 15.06.2016 before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne/Switzerland, thus the decision became final and binding on the parties.
Non-compliance of BCF with ETH decision and FIDE GA decision in Baku: Due to BCF’s refusal to comply with ETH decision of 15.6.2016, the FIDE GA in Baku adopted the ETH recommendation to temporarily exclude the BCF, if the latter does not fully comply with the ETH decision and does not confirm such compliance to the FIDE Executive Director by October 12, 2016, and maintain it so excluded until such compliance and such confirmation have taken place (FIDE GA decision). On 20.09.2016 BCF informed FIDE of BCF Board’s decision taken on 16.09.2016 according to which the BCF completely accepts the decision of the ETH and undertook to restore the rights of Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov. Due to a number of pending issues, FIDE is currently monitoring full compliance of BCF with ETH decision dated 15.06.2016 and FIDE GA decision in Baku.
ECU investigation on transactions between ECU and BCF: After August 2014 ECU’s newly elected administration launched an investigation concerning chess tournaments that were organized in Bulgaria (Albena and Golden Sands) and improperly designated by the former administration of ECU as official ECU tournaments and a number of unauthorized transactions between BCF and ECU.
Complaint of BCF to ETH in relation to ECU’s investigation: BCF submitted a complaint to ETH claiming that ECU’s investigation in connection with the above chess tournaments allegedly organised under the aegis of ECU and the unauthorized transactions between ECU and BCF during the years 2011-2014 constituted an interference in BCF’s internal matters and that ECU administration’s actions were part of a conspiracy against BCF and its President. (ETH case nr. 5/2015)
ETH decision dismissing all claims against ECU President and General Secretary: By its decision dated 15.06.2016 ETH dismissed all claims raised by the BCF against ECU President Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili and ECU General Secretary Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou concerning an alleged interference in the internal affairs of the BCF. According to the decision, both Mr. Azmaiparashvili and Mr. Tsorbatzoglou acted with the mandate of the ECU Board and GA and in furtherance of the legitimate interests of the ECU only. No evidence was found of the respondents’ actions being part of any conspiracy to discredit the BCF.
Refusal of BCF to cooperate with ECU: To date BCF refuses to cooperate with ECU in disclosing the administrative and financial irregularities committed in connection with the chess tournaments in Albena and Golden Sands and the unauthorized transactions between BCF and ECU.
ECU GA decision to expel the BCF: The ECU GA decided on 10.09.2016 to expel BCF from ECU due to its refusal to cooperate with ECU in clarifying the matter of the chess tournaments in Albena and Golden Sands and the unauthorized transactions between ECU and BCF during the years 2011-2014. The ECU GA in 2015 confirmed that the tournaments organized in 2014 in Albena and Golden Sands were not official ECU tournaments. At the same time, large amounts supposed to have been paid to ECU were never actually paid to ECU but instead sent to bank accounts of other entities, such as the “fake” ECU LLC. (ECU GA decision and Notice of 07.07.16 sent by ECU to BCF concerning the proposal for suspension of ECU membership of the BCF)
FIDE GA decision in Baku and filing of a new case before the ETH: The FIDE GA approved the ECU report (Report of Continental President for Europe and Letter from ECU President and 14 Exhibits) and actions taken by ECU against BCF. The FIDE GA unanimously decided to refer the ECU decision on BCF’s membership expulsion and the relating evidence to ETH for ETH to examine, as a new case, whether a breach of the FIDE Code of Ethics has been committed by the BCF and/or any individual found to be involved in unlawful activity and present its findings and sanctions, if any, or recommendations for further action by FIDE organs.