Bulgarian Lawmaker Stirs Conflict Because of Hidden Fishery Ownership?

Екип на Биволъ

Farmer Evgeni Minchev recently accused the lawmaker (MP) from the parliamentary group of the “United Patriots” Yordan Apostolov of attacking and threatening him. According to Minchev, Yordanov’s aggression had been unlocked by his signal to the Regional Directorate of Environment and Waters (RIEWs) in the Black Sea city of Varna against the discharge of water from the fishponds of “Bul Aqua Fish”. In his words, the MP had the reputation of a hidden owner of the company. Bivol talked to both sides of the conflict and found evidence of Apostolov’s connections with “Bul Aqua Fish”. In addition, the MP has acquired the farmyard where the company is located through a scandalous deal.

Minchev gave an emergency press conference to tell publicly about his conflict with the MP from the National Front for Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB, part of “United Patriots”) Yordan Apostolov. In the breeder’s words, on August 27, the conflict between him and Apostolov became physical.

Yordan Apostolov is a member of the National Political Council of the NSSB. He “rose to fame” for taking the third place in the party’s election ballot in the Black Sea city of Burgas, being completely unknown to local people but personally endorsed by party leader Valeri Simeonov. In order for Apostolov to secure a seat in Parliament, Simeonov ran on the ballot of his party in the capital Sofia, freeing one spot in Burgas.

Apostolov became known further for his open lobbyist position for amendments to the Black Sea Coast Act, which would have allowed a three-year extension of the terms for construction on farming lands along the coast. After the failure to pass them, the “United Patriots” pushed for the lobbyist amendments through the Sowing and Planting Act. It was Yordan Apostolov who was the main engine of the legislative initiatives in question, benefiting mainly oligarchic interests.

Yordan Apostolov – “The Patriot”

On September 1, days before his case was to become political, Minchev gave an interview to Bivol. He described himself as a former farmer from the village of Slaveevo. Former, because in February this year, his animals – 52 cows and calves – had been killed in a fire under suspicious circumstances. Prior to the incident, he and his brother had tried to breed animals through “supreme genetics”.

“The farm had ups and downs. It all depends on the price of milk. When the price is good, there is nothing to complain about. In the last four years, we have had no reason to complain,” he said.

Evgeni Minchev and his brother have even received European funding for one project. However, the second project has been declined. They have had serious problems with “Bul Aqua Fish” which had started with the very opening of the fishpond. The company is housed in the farmyard of the bankrupt socialist farming cooperative in the village of Slaveevo. According to media publications, Yordan Apostolov acquired its assets in 2005.

“There are a lot of companies there, one cannot know which is which: there is “Vuzhod – Arnieu and Co”, “Agrostroy M”,” Bul Aqua Fish “and who knows how many companies. The names are printed on the European funding signs.”

Apostolov: “Bul Aqua Fish” is not mine

According to the “red-neck information”, the owner of the company with the fishery, which is in the heart of the conflict, is lawmaker Yordan Apostolov, but he denies it. It is a fact that he is not entered officially as an owner, but according to data from the Trade Register, a person close to him is associated with the company.

Minchev says that the land, which has been planned for being given to locals from Slaveevo, has mysteriously become Apostolov’s possession through Svetoslav Lazarov, a brother of Apostolov’s wife, Ventsislava, and through Tihomir Danchev Slavov.

In 2013, when the company’s fishery began operating, the discharge of wastewater also started occurring. As a result of this, Minchev’s farm started turning into a swamp.

“Last year, all my cows miscarried. I had a cow mated with a world champion bull, and she miscarried in the seventh month.”

Finally, the yard in which he and his brother had bred their animals until February had been flooded. The farmer lodged a signal with RIEWs Varna on August 23 and on Monday, August 27, employees of the Inspectorate arrived in the village for a check. Apostolov had been part of the group.

“When he was 30-40 meters away from us, he started shouting and threatening. He started screaming “I will not deal with you anymore; I will put you in such a hole that no one will find you”. All this was done in front of the two female employees of the RIEWs.”

The breeder says that he replied, “Well, come on, I will bring you the shovel and the pick for the ditch now.” According to Minchev, Apostolov then swung his arm, hit him, and tore his shirt. Upon this, the breeder called the 112 emergency hotline, and Apostolov’s behavior changed drastically. The police arrived and interrogated the eyewitnesses.

Dobrich District Prosecutor Petko Tukchiev confirmed that there is a similar incident, but the case had been sent to the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office because it involves a person with immunity.

Yordan Apostolov’s version of the story is different. According to him, Evgeni Minchev absolutely tendentiously organized his press conference while the lawmaker was abroad, in Vienna. Apostolov initially categorically denied having attacked Minchev.

“No such thing. The fables of this boy that the Lord has punished enough. We have been patient with him for dozens of years while his cows were trampling our fields. We have always been good with him because I respect his brother.”

Bivol: Are you connected with “Bul Aqua Fish”?

Apostolov: The only connection is that it is in my yard. There are seven-eight companies there. They are not mine.

Bivol: In fact, did an incident happen on that day?

Apostolov: There is no incident the way I see it; the only occurrence is that on the 27th there was a check by the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters of the drainage of water from the yard, but as I said, there are seven companies there that are not mine. It has an area of 34 decares. Under the circumstances, the lowest point is in our land and any water that leaks from anywhere, goes through this lowest point and into a ravine. Evgeni claims that this water affects his property of which I’m not sure.”

Apostolov also confirmed that two employees of RIEWs Varna had arrived for the inspection. In his words, he had been there accidently, because he and his wife had to attend an inspection of farming machinery. They had met Minchev on the main road of the village.

“I cannot understand the problem with this water. It goes into the village ravine. When he had cows they drank from that water. For dozens of years. His property is not water-supplied.”

Bivol: He has another view – that this is swamp water and because of it, his cows have miscarried.

Apostolov: What should the animals do when he does not give them water? If you are kept thirsty for days, and they will let you go free, will you not drink from the nearest water you see?”

In the conversation, however, the MP admitted of having had physical contact with Minchev.

“He accused me of taking part in the bankruptcy of his business. You understand? Can I now tell you that you are a bad man? He told me “you’re a criminal”! I cannot understand why this guy is at large and not in a psychiatric ward. He causes harm and outrages to people!

Bivol: I am still asking about the specific incident?

Apostolov: The only thing… after he spoke these words, I grabbed him by the T-shirt, he drew back and it tore at the top. That was the whole incident. ”

The lawmaker vowed to “endlessly” sue Minchev.

Yordan Apostolov always stands close to his leader Valeri Simeonov Photo Actualno.com

Nevertheless, who owns “Bul Aqua Fish”?

All this would be just a spicy incident involving an MP and a breeder, but the ownership of “Bul Aqua Fish” leads to other suspicions. The company has been incorporated in 2009. Its founders are Zhivko Stefanov Vassilev, Milko Velikov Penchev and Genoveva Petrova Chorbadzhieva. The company engages in the breeding of sturgeon fish, and in 2016 it has been checked by RIEWs Varna. Inspectors did not find any violations then.

Currently, Milko Velikov Penchev is no longer part of the company. He is the leader of the left-wing ABC party in the city of Dobrich and is… a parliamentary assistant to Yordan Apostolov. They had been partners in “Sidom Ltd.”, a beneficiary of a European project under the Rural Development Program (RDP). They both have left this company to be replaced by Maya Atanasova Ilieva – Pencheva and Ventsislava Lazarova Apostolova. Everything indicates that the two ladies are their wives.

In 2015, Milko Penchev was a candidate for mayor of Dobrich on the ABC ballot, while Apostolov was running for municipal councilor on the ballot of the same party. Previously, they had also been part of another political formation – “More Citizens than Needed”. Apostolov can be seen in a photo introducing the political formation together with Penchev.

Scandalous deal

Zhivko Vassilev is also associated with Yordan Apostolov in a scandalous manner. He has long been part of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) in Dobrich. In a series of media publications in 2006, it is reported that Vassilev had traded the assets of the “Slavey” Farming Cooperative for Production and Services in the village of Slaveevo for a symbolic sum. He had sold the building with warehouses, the land plot and the power station to “Vuzhod – Arnieu and Co“, whose manager was… Yordan Apostolov. The assistant notary, who had signed the sale deal was Milko Penchev.

The publications from 12 years ago cite victims who accuse Zhivko Vassilev of using the signatures of all 300 members of the cooperative and a fictitious protocol to conclude the deal with notary Milko Penchev in Dobrich. According to the notary deed from November 10 2005, the deal had been valued at BGN 4,000. The members of the cooperative have not received a penny from the sale. Bivol’s sources claim that the case had also involved criminal proceedings, but Zhivko Vassilev had been acquitted.

All these facts undoubtedly indicate Yordan Apostolov’s connection with “Bul Aqua Fish”, and there is also disturbing evidence related to European funding under Operational Program Fisheries. It will be the subject of our next story on the subject.

Photo: Apostolov and Penchev at the introduction of a political formation in Dobrich



If you find this article useful, support our work with a small donation.

Pay a Bivol Tax!

We will highly appreciate if you decide to support us with monthly donations keeping the option Make this donation monthly.

Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Donation Total: 5€

Извършвайки плащане Вие се съгласявате с Общите условия, които предварително сте прочели тук.

Биволъ не записва и не съхранява номера на Вашата банкова карта. Плащанията се обработват през системата Stripe. Даренията за Биволъ с банкови карти се управляват от френската неправителствена организация Data for Reporters Journalists and Investigations - DRJI.

This post is also available in: Bulgarian

Вижте също / Read Also