Capture_2014-04-03_a_12.30.10

Ownership structure of Madara Europe as presented in the investment project proposal to the Ministry of Economy, source: Balkanleaks

What changes have occurred from September 2013 to March 2014 in the investment proposal of “Madara Europe” for the project “Black Sea Gardens”?

What caused the Ministry of Economy and Energy (MEE) to change its negative opinion from September 2013, which was based on information that investors have less than 1 million pounds of liquidity?

Is the following information true – that investors in “Black Sea Gardens” are related and have received funding from Chinese and Singaporean funds, represented by billionaire Steven Lo, who intends to build a complex with an “artificial sea” near Elin Pelin close to the capital Sofia?

Bivol addressed these questions to Economy Minister Dragomir Stoynev and received a laconic reply that the investors are the already announced individuals from the UK, listed one by one, as they were declared in the Trade Registry. No other investment proposals have been received from these individuals and companies which are behind “Madara Europe” – “Rainbow Holding” Malta and “Rainbow Group Services” British Virgin Islands, says the Ministry of Economy.

However, the Ministry did not provide any information about the registered in Jersey capital of “Madara Bulgarian Property Fund,” whose representatives paraded in the media as participants in the project. Despite promises, the real owners of this offshore company have not yet been declared in the Trade Registry, but MEE has information on this company, as evidenced by the strictly confidential document with the first investment project of “Madara Europe” from April 2013, leaked trough the anonymous sharing platform Balkanleaks.

Thus, at this stage MEE refutes information about the involvement of Chinese investors in the project “Black Sea Gardens”, but also confirms that no other capital has been received from companies or persons behind “Madara Europe”. The question about the successful financing of the project remains open.

Bivol published earlier a letter sent by Minister of Stoynev on September 29, 2013, with which he refused to support the issuing an “investor class A” certificate to “Madara Europe,” listing in detail the flaws of the project: lack of liquidity, suspicions of property specula with “floor plan” sales, the opinion of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters that hotels cannot be built in protected areas and agricultural lands with unchanged status.

Just six months later, Dragomir Stoynev tabled during a cabinet meeting the same investment proposal with reduced parameters and it was approved, although the quoted price for the investment of over 100 million levs is not within the means of the individuals behind “Madara Europe,” who, according to MEE, have in their disposal less than 1 million pounds in cash.

So far, the government keeps concealing the memorandum on the investment plan of “Madara Europe” and MEE refuses to say what was the specific information that motivated it to make a U-turn in its position. Even if we assume that the intentions of “Madara Europe” to sell residential properties have been dropped and only the hotel part remained, it is unclear if there is any money and where did it come from. Moreover, it emerged that the opinion of the ministry contrasts sharply with the confidence of the representatives of “Madara Europe” that they will start building in September with government support.

The full text of MEE’s response to Bivol:

To Asen Yordanov

Director of Bivol

Dear Mr. Yordanov,

In connection with your request, we inform you that:

The investment “Black Sea Gardens Eco Resort,” for which a procedure has been conducted under the Encouragement of Investments Act, is at the request of the company “Madara Europe” JSC.

The information about this company is publicly available in the Trade Registry at the Registry Agency. The declared owners of the capital are “Rainbow Malta (Holdings) Limited,” based in Qormi , Malta and Rainbow Group Services Limited,” British Virgin Islands, with actual owners :

1.Francine Gail Wickham, citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

2. Ewan Gail Short, citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

3.Nigel Vernon Short, citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

4.Louise Elizabeth Short, citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

5.Mark John Davis, citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

6.Sarah Janet Davis, citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

7.Paul Riley, citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

8.Nicholas David Gully, citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Requests for consideration of other investment projects and plans of the above individuals and companies from “Madara Europe” group have not been received at the Ministry of Economy and Energy.

MEE Press Office

This post is also available in: Bulgarian