17 Apr 2020 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 09 Mar 2020 n° 27/2020 Bulgaria

Satabank Co-Owner Files SLAPPs against Maltese Blogger Manuel Delia and Times of Malta in Bulgaria

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner ECPMF Article 19 EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner ECPMF Article 19 EFJ/IFJ Index
In November 2019, Maltese blogger Manuel Delia and major newspaper Times of Malta were sued for defamation in Bulgaria by Christo Georgiev, the Bulgarian co-owner of the Maltese bank “Satabank.” Delia had published an article on his blog “Truth be Told” alleging that Georgiev was being investigated. The Times of Malta had also published an article making similar allegations.

Satabank had been forced to cancel its operations in October 2018 after the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) had ordered it to freeze all its clients’ accounts. Satabank was fined a record €3 million in 2019 over breaches of money-laundering regulations.

The two lawsuits are filed before the Regional Court of Varna, Bulgaria. Georgiev is demanding that the contested articles be removed. He additionally claims €2,500 in damages against Delia, and €10,000 in damages against The Times of Malta. Both were informed about the lawsuit in February 2020.
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Follow-ups
31 Mar 2020
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights calls for stronger commitment to increase media freedom in Bulgaria
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