The Lifetime Honorable Chairman of the party largely representing the Bulgarian Muslim minority, Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), Ahmed Demir Dogan and Rumen “The Wolf” Gaitanski have registered a joint company. It is called Water-Vital Ltd. and in it, Dogan and Gaitanski are co-owners with a capital of BGN 10,000 each. They are also managers of the company, which was entered in the Trade Register on October 19, 2017.

The capital of the company has been deposited with International Asset Bank, whose ownership is linked to the alleged prominent underworld figure Mladen “Madjo” Mihalev. The lawyer, who submitted the documents for registration of Water-Vital in the Trade Register, is Ivan Emilov Georgiev, a former spokesman of the Union of Judges in Bulgaria and a strong critic in the media of the model “WHO” that is being connected precisely to DPS.

The event is remarkable, as it is the first official business venture of the person (Dogan – editor’s note) who publicly claimed to be the one “distributing the portions in the State”. So far, Dogan has only participated in the DPS leadership and in two foundations.

Who is “The Wolf”?

Rumen “The Wolf” Gaitanski is described in a classified diplomatic cable by former US Ambassador to Sofia, James Pardew, as a member of the alleged powerful organized crime group in the 1990s – SIC (Intergroup), with which he had joint business in the past (according to the US diplomat – editor’s note).

According to the cable, “Intergroup’s illegal activities include narcotics (especially heroin), financial fraud (through its ties with the AMIGOS financial guarantee company), car thefts and trafficking in stolen automobiles, smuggling, extortion and racketeering, and prostitution.”

Intergroup’s legal business interests range from sport teams (SLAVIA) to banking (FIRST EAST INTERNATIONAL BANK) and insurance to petroleum and metals trading to construction and real estate (SOFISKI IMOTI) to modeling (VISAGES). Ventsislav is the manager of the Slavia soccer team in Sofia. GEORGI LIALEV also serves on Slavia’s managing board. Lialev’s father, Traian Lialev, is Dean of the Law Faculty of Southwestern University in Blagoevgrad; through Lialev, Rumen Nikolov and Mladen Mihalev received law degrees. Georgi Lialev is also a business partner with RUMEN GAITANSKI (Bulgarian citizen, also known as “THE WOLF”), whose company, WOLF 96, also has connections with Intergroup.”

Lialev’s relations with SIC and First Eastern International Bank are well documented, but Bivol could not find any direct business relationship between Lialev and Gaitanski, nor between Wolf 96 and Intergroup. However, there are links of Gaitanski with SIC and they can be tracked through the participation of Krassimir “The Big Margin” Marinov and Dmitry “The Russian” Minev in the capital of Wolf 96 and Diz.

Organized crime investigative journalist Jürgen Roth quotes in his book “The New Bulgarian Demons” interviews with Bulgarian and German police sources, portraying Rumen Gaitanski as one of the protagonists of the Bulgarian underworld after the fall of the Communist regime.

Until 1988, he was the driver of Angel Stoychev, then Chief of the 7th police precinct in Sofia. He then went to Germany, met a wealthy widow whose deceased husband had been dealing with waste disposal. He married her and in this way received his first garbage trucks, with which he started his waste removal business after his return to Bulgaria and made his initial millions. But then, there was still not much interest in this business in Bulgaria. The only one who claimed it was a gold mine was Ivo Karamanski,” Roth writes.

He also quotes his conversation with a senior Bulgarian investigator:

In the investigative services, we looked at Gaitanski in some detail, and it turned out that he was stealing every month BGN 2 million from the city’s waste disposal. He had been accounting for fictitious services, for example that his trucks had emptied the waste containers every day, while they had been doing it only once a week, or that the snow removal machines had been cleaning the streets seven times a day. In this way, he was able to cash monthly from the city’s Treasury one and a half to two million euros. You can multiply it by the time he spent cleaning the capital. Then he calculatingly retreated to the background and sold his firm.”

To the mass audience, “The Wolf” is best known for his waste removal business. Because of suspicions of syphoning Sofia’s municipal budget, then-Mayor of Sofia (and current Prime Minister) Boyko Borisov vowed that one of his tasks was “to remove The Wolf”. The companies of Gaitanski did relinquish Sofia temporarily but did not abandon this “gold mine” in other parts of the country. Last year, Gaitanski’s company stepped back into Sofia and began cleaning the “Krasna Polyana” and “Krasno Selo” districts. However, in addition to waste, in recent years Gaitanski has had business interests in the field of extraction of inert materials and plumbing and sewage construction.

“Vital” public procurement

The undertakings of Water-Vital cover a wide range of hydrological activities – from the extraction, bottling and distribution of mineral water to construction, repairs and reconstruction of Water Power Plants, Wastewater Treatment Plants, dams and water supply networks.

Dogan’s and Gaitanski’s joint company is registered at the address  48-50 Tsarigradsko Shosse. Gaitanski’s companies – Wolf, Diz, Zauba, and other companies associated with him are registered there. In some of them he is listed with his name, and in others, the owner is his wife Assya Hristova.

Two companies with a similar object of activity as Water-Vital are also registered at the same address. Aqua Viva, owned by Vladislav Lazov, Plamen Tsonkov and Antoniya Ivanova, has won two large public procurement contracts in consortium with Glavbolgarstroy for dealing with flood damage in the coastal town of Primorsko. The semantic proximity of the Latin name “Aqua Viva” to the English Water-Vital cannot be overlooked as well.

The other similar company at the same address is Aqua Cool. It has not won public contracts and is owned by Vladislav Lazov and Metodi Prodanov.

Vladislav Lazov, Plamen Tsonkov and Kiril Lekov are co-owners of the company Green Partners, which is registered at the same address. The latter has public procurement contracts worth more than BGN 43 million for waste removal in the cities of Sliven and Kardzhali and the winter resort town of Bansko. This is the company that has been cleaning the “Krasno Selo” and “Krasna Polyana” districts in Sofia since last year.

Water-Vital was registered in October 2017 and has so far remained unnoticed

Gaitanski’s interests in plumbing and sewage are most strongly represented by the company Kristalna Voda (Crystal Water), in which the majority owner is K R Consult, owned by his wife Assya Hristova. This company, in consortia with other companies (as “Vodstroy 98”, linked to the DPS lawmaker and controversial businessman and media mogul Delyan Peevski), has been involved in public procurement for nearly BGN 130 million, some of which has been funded under the EU Operational Program Environment (OPE), the Bulgarian daily Capital writes.

Politician and hydro engineer. Now also by trade

Ahmed Dogan has already played the role of a hydropower expert, but as an individual who combines this activity with politics and philosophy. He was even legally charged for an undeclared fee of EUR 1 million, paid by the company Minstroy of Nikolay Valkanov for hydroengineering consultations. The philosopher-hydro engineer-party leader was accused of conflict of interest, but then completely exonerated by a five-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court, presided by Vesselina Teneva, who later unsuccessfully ran for Chief Court Inspector.

Dogan’s new career as a businessman went completely unnoticed by Bulgarian media, although many of them monitor the activity of prominent politicians and businessmen in the registers. Bivol discovered Dogan and Gaitanski’s firm after upgrading its information systems that link open data to the Trade Register, the Public Procurement Agency, politically exposed persons’ tax declarations, files of agents of the former Communist secret services, and other public registers in a single search engine.

At the beginning of 2016, Bivol established through these systems that companies linked to Delyan Peevski had secured public procurement for nearly BGN 1 billion, of which nearly BGN 700 million had been financed with European funds. Once this information was sent to the European Commission, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov suddenly halted the public procurement for the “Hemus” highway, which was targeted by companies close to Peevski and Valentin Zlatev, the boss of Lukoil Bulgaria. Borisov, himself, explained this decision with the following revelation: “I have checked somewhat who is who”.

Reshuffle?

The significance of all of the above information is yet to be the subject of analyses and comments, but rumors about Dogan and Gaitanski becoming closer at Peevski’s expense have been a fact for several months. The lucrative market for water cycle renovation and the construction of Wastewater Treatment Plants, in which the EU generously pours European funds is also a fact.

The newly-emerged joint business of the DPS leader Ahmed Dogan with a figure like “The Wolf”, surrounded by a negative public aura (though never sentenced), is likely to bewilder the “pundits” always on standby.

It is too obvious! Still, Peevski, himself, hid his large business for many years and declared only one old “Opel” automobile. On the other hand, in recent years, the symbiosis between politicians and mafia in Bulgaria has largely achieved its goals and no longer needs a disguise.

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