Bulgarian Agriculture Minister’s In-Laws Absorb BGN 1m in EU Subsidies

Dimitar Karanashev, father-in-law, and Zoya Karanasheva, sister-in-law, of Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture Dessislava Taneva, have absorbed through companies and as individuals nearly BGN 1 million in agricultural subsidies in 2018 and 2019, a check by Bivol in the online database of the State Fund Agriculture (SFA) reveals.

Kosta Karanashev is the mayor of the town of Kotel and husband of Dessislava Taneva. His father Dimitar Karanashev is registered as a farm producer and was the owner and manager of the company Klak Ltd until mid-2019. He is currently the owner of the company Amalthea.

Zoya Karanasheva is the sister of Kosta Karanashev and sister-in-law of Dessislava Taneva. She is also registered as a farm producer and was the owner of Geobat until mid-2019. Interestingly, both father and daughter parted ways with their shares in the companies on the same date, July 7, 2019, a month after Dessislava Taneva became Minister of Agriculture.

Moreover, the new owners of these companies are not random people. The current owner of Geobat is Zachary Stoyanov, manager of the municipal football club in Kotel. The new owner and manager of Klak is Vesselina Vassileva. Vassileva shares the same home in the city of Sliven with Maya Radeva, manager of the company Balden, which until 2015 belonged to the Mayor of Sliven Stefan Radev. Balden has managed to absorb BGN 349,292 under the European Union (EU) Regional Development Program (RDP) for setting up of peach orchards. Stefan Radev and Dessislava Taneva have been members of the management of Mel Forage and Grain Invest.

Here is the breakdown of agricultural subsidies by companies and years, which can be downloaded from the SFA website here:

2018
Klak – 63,447.34
Amalthea – 290,053.03
Geobat – 37,559.65
Dimitar Karanashev – 67,520.74
Zoya Karanasheva – 50,450.18

2019
Klak – 79 138.13
Amalthea – 118,909.22
Geobat – 46 746
Dimitar Karanashev – 69,423.95
Zoya Karanasheva – 68,548.25

Total – BGN 891,796.49

Apart from that, there is data that Amalthea has received BGN 196,682 under the RDP during the current period.
It is more than likely that the companies have received subsidies in the current period 2020, which means that the one million threshold has been long topped.

Bivol turned to the Ministry of Agriculture with a question of whether these companies and persons connected with Minister Taneva can be interpreted as a conflict of interests. The press office asked us to send our questions in writing, which we did.

The response received reads as follows:

Kosta Karanashev is the father of my two daughters, born in 2017.
I have repeatedly declared the fact that I live with my life partner Kosta Karanashev, as we have not entered into a civil union, which is publicly known and can be seen in my declaration to the Commission for Combating Corruption and Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property.

The Karanashev family has been engaged in livestock breeding and agriculture for a long time and have been registered since 2006. There is no reason for them, like any other Bulgarian farmer, not to apply for support. All funds that the SFA pays to farmers are published on the website of the institution.

Earlier this week, Bivol posted a video in which Minister Taneva is heard suggesting to vegetable growers to keep silent about the violations in the payments of EU agricultural subsidies to prevent their suspension by Brussels. She later explained that her words had been taken out of context.
Bivol continues to work on companies associated with politicians who are beneficiaries of EU subsidies. All media wishing to work on the topic can use the new online tool for tracking connected parties in the RDP, created by our data journalism specialists.

Headline photo: Dessislava Taneva and Kosta Karanashev, Sliven Today and Tomorrow

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