Bulgarian PM Gifts Trump with Lifetime Golf Membership Associated with Communist Past and Murky Deals

Atanas Tchobanov

“I think he will come to Bulgaria. We gave him an honorary lifetime golf membership card. He was quite impressed by the views of our golf courses,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov said after meeting with US President Donald Trump.

The said gift is a certificate issued by the Bulgarian Golf Association (BGA) at the request of the Council of Ministers. It entitles Donald Trump and members of his family to play golf free of charge at all golf courses of BGA affiliates, Bivol learned from its sources.

However, the US Constitution, in its Emolument Clause generally prohibits federal officeholders from receiving any gift, payment, or other thing of value from a foreign state or its rulers, officers, or representatives. In the past, Congress even had to approve any gift from a foreign official before it became the property of the recipient. In 1966, The Foreign Gifts and Declarations Act was passed, limiting the value of gifts, and the limit is currently USD 390.

Therefore, a golf card as a gift is problematic, because if used, the maximum amount will quickly be exceeded, especially if other members of the Trump family decide to play golf in Bulgaria. Though he is the first US President sued for violating the Emolument clause, Trump might decide not to risk breaching the Constitution and the Rule of Law and not use the gift. He also has the option to buy the golf card for personal use, but it is unclear how its value will be calculated.

Gift originating from Communist regime’s secret services and scandalous swaps

Borisov’s initial intentions were to give Trump a hunting rifle with a handcrafted stock, but the US President is not a hunter. Apparently, plans for the highest gift have changed at the last moment to adapt to Trump’s passion for golf.

The Chair of the BGA is Krassimir Gergov, a former officer of the Communist regime’s secret services, the sinister State Security (DS), while the Vice President is pollster Kancho Stoychev, who, along with his colleague and business parent Andrei Raychev, owns golf courses in the country.

Stoychev and Raychev are also known for the fact that their polling agency “Gallup International” stole the name Gallup from the famous American agency and had been sentenced not to use it, but so far, the court decisions remain ignored.

The golf courses where Trump can play for a lifetime have been built on plots obtained through scandalous land swaps that have inflicted very serious damage on the State budget. The swaps made by Gergov and the two pollsters are for the “Black Sea Rama” Golf Course, where they are partners.

Despite vowing to annul these swaps, Borisov attended the opening of the golf course as Prime Minister. After many years of delay, the Ministry of Agriculture recently announced that it will only seek back BGN 80 million from the swaps. According to independent assessors, the damage to the budget from the swaps is estimated at BGN billions.


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