Bulgarian Politician Acquires Port through Blatant Fraud

More than two hundred meters of a pier with a breakwater have been built illegally, without a single construction document, in front of the Black Sea seraglio of Ahmed Dogan, the Honorary Lifetime Chairman of the party largely representing Bulgarian Muslims, Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). Then, the new addition has been legalized and registered as private property on the grounds of the bold lie that it has existed as early as the 1980s. All institutions in charge are tacitly concealing this unprecedented impudence, legalized by a decision of a special State commission and a deputy minister’s order.

Bivol revealed two weeks ago that the pier at the boat dock in front of Dogan’s summer palace has surprisingly grown by more than 200 meters between 2016 and 2018. The construction can be seen on Google Earth satellite images. Until February 2018, the pier was about 50 meters long. In November 2019, another 220 meters were added to it. The new large-scale facility has a total length of 270 meters and forms a new marina, which can accommodate large yachts.

For comparison, the northern port of the resort town of Nessebar has a breakwater of 183 meters, another resort, Pomorie, has a 410-meter breakwater. The pier of the naval base Atia is 450 meters long, the one in the resort town of Tsarevo is 240 meters, and the two piers of the most famous private marina of Dinevi brothers have a total length of about 500 meters. Dogan’s new pier is comparable to the neighboring pier of the Rosenets oil port, which is also about 270 meters long.

There is no construction document for the new 220-meter pier. There is no design project, no building permit, no construction supervision, and no authorizations for exploitation. This is a construction in the waters of the Republic of Bulgaria, which according to the Constitution are still exclusive state property.

“It was there…”

In order to legalize the territory seized from the sea, the company “Hermes Solar” used an extremely brazen trick. It declared the newly built part of the breakwater as a site constructed in the 1980s and registered it as property with a correction of an old notary deed, claiming a factual error.

The bold lie can be seen in the documentation of the Registry Office in the Black Sea city of Burgas, issued on March 18, 2020, among the most severe coronavirus lockdown measures. It states that there is a “specialized port facility” consisting of two main parts. The first part of 50 meters was built in the 1970s and 125 meters from the north and 85 meters from the west have been added in the second stage in the 1980s.

To reiterate, everything written about the second stage is a brazen fraud. The construction of these additional 210 meters was completed after 2016.

The above-mentioned notary deed is a document with fraudulent content and something that the prosecutor’s office should deal with. However, several institutions have been aware of the intentions of the company “Hermes Solar” to build a port before the legalization of the property with a statement of findings. They have provided a positive opinion and there is an order issued by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPWs) for registration in the Cadaster.

A Deputy Minister’s order legalized the fraud

Bivol asked to see a file kept in the MRDPWs, which preceded the legalization of the pier and was presented to the Cadaster in Burgas. The file contains several orders, decisions and coordination letters from the end of 2019, which were requested under the Access to Public Information Act (APIA). They were not provided to Bivol.
Nevertheless, all this paperwork, necessary to enter the illegally constructed breakwater in the Cadaster, is based on the false declaration that the pier’s wall has existed since the 1980s. The entry was done with an order from February 24, 2020. Bivol requested a copy of that order.

The head of the Burgas Cadaster crowned the fraud by finding that a failure to enter the site in the Cadaster in the past was a clear factual error that must be corrected and subsequently entered the property with a new cadastral number 07079.831.346 with an area of 5,838 square meters.

The State is unaware of the new port

Bivol asked the Regional Governor of Burgas Valcho Cholakov to provide the available papers for the new site, but was told that no new documents, different from those provided under previous inquiries, had been received since 2016.

Cholakov provided Bivol with a set of documents under the APIA in 2016, including a request to delete the state ownership of the then-existing pier. It then became clear that the Governor had approved the request and had deactivated the State ownership of the marina.

His reply that there were no new documents is contrary to the law, as an order has been issued by the head of the Geodesy, Mapping and Cadaster Agency in Burgas with notifications to the MRDPWs and the Regional Governor of Burgas. This is mandatory to allow all interested parties to appeal within 14 days. It turns out that three months after this order, the Regional Governor, who represents the State, is still unaware of it.

Another institution that has no idea what was built in the sea and when is the National Construction Control. It replied that it did not have the construction documents and they should be sought in the Municipality of Burgas. There is no trace of any building permits in the Municipality of Burgas because it does not issue such documents. By law, the institution in charge of the construction of such port facilities is the MRDPWs.

However, that is not all. Article 8 of the Commercial Shipping Code explicitly states that the designation of coastal areas for construction purposes can be done only after prior coordination with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, (MTITCs). In addition, the Law on Ports requires that ports be registered in a public register and must be certified by the MTITCs to be put in operation.
Nothing of the above exists and cannot exist because the construction of the pier is undeniably illegal.

In addition, the marina in question is not listed in the port register book for the area of responsibility of the State Maritime Administration Burgas.

Enclave of lawlessness

The 2014 building permit shows that the seraglio was built by Glavbolgarstroy, the same company that became infamous in recent days in Bulgaria for constructing a huge hotel on a pristine Black Sea beach, insisting that it was just a support wall.

As early as its construction stage, it was obvious that the works on what is now known as “Dogan’s Seraglio” were done in violation of the Black Sea Coast Act norms for building height along the coast. The building itself was designed by one of the people responsible the most for the scandalous overbuilding of the coast, architect Kalin Tiholov, also known as the architect of DPS.

According to Tiholov, the 18-meter high tower in the middle of the palace is an “architectural element”, and although it is a livable part of the building and not an “element”, the Municipality of Burgas has legalized it, trampling several laws in the process.

A two-story building appeared later on the beach next to the seraglio, again without a trace of construction papers. Neither the District Administration nor the MRDPWs knew that there was such a construction on a public property beach.

The latest satellite images show several other new buildings erected in the northeastern part of the property. There is no information about them in the Cadaster, nor information about building permits.

The latest public scandal around the seraglio took place in the Municipality of Burgas, which did everything possible to change the status of the land near it from public to private property to ensure complete inaccessibility of the coastal zone by citizens. This is a direct violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, lawyers are adamant.

From everything presented so far, it is clear that the territory of Dogan’s seraglio enjoys a special standing of extraterritoriality to the laws and even the Constitution of Bulgaria. As a bonus to institutional blindness, all of Dogan’s atrocities also have a special immunity against national media coverage.

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