How about Pressing Charges?

Bulgarian Prosecution ‘Discovers’ Illegal Construction in Politician’s Seraglio

Atanas Tchobanov

An inspection by the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor’s Office found illegal construction in a state property – a 200-meter pier with a breakwater and a two-story building on a state beach next to the residence of Ahmed Dogan, the Honorary Chairman the party mostly representing the Muslim minority in Bulgaria, Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), known as #Doganseraglio. This should lead to legal charges as the Penal Code contains explicit texts on what happens when someone seizes state property and builds on it.

Bivol discovered the illegal two-story building on the beach in 2018 and alerted Burgas Regional Governor Valcho Cholakov but no reaction whatsoever followed. Such inaction is also punishable by imprisonment.

Art. 323a. of the Penal Code calls for imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of BGN 1,000 to BGN 3,000 for anyone who builds on arable or agricultural land or pasture without the right to do so.

This article is applicable to the two-story building on the beach, as the property on which it has sprung has the status of a state-public agricultural territory, according to a reference in the Cadaster.

It sounds absurd but there is no text in the Penal Code that punishes seizure and illegal construction in Black Sea waters since they also have a public-state property status. Nevertheless, the illegal breakwater can be deemed a crime under another article of the Penal Code for declaring false data and circumstances. This was once again revealed by Bivol in May 2020.

The company “Hermes Solar”, which is the owner of the seraglio, declared that the breakwater had existed since the 1980s, which is not true. Snezhana Karova is the manager of Hermes Solar and owner with a 95% stake, while Russian national Georgiy Seropyan holds the other 5%. The architect and designer of the seraglio is architect Kalin Tiholov, who is considered particularly close to DPS and Dogan. Karova submitted the documents for the registration of ownership of the breakwater with a statement of findings, therefore, she must be held accountable for the incorrect circumstances in the first place.

In this regard, the Prosecutor’s Office can and should investigate who coordinated the document forgery in the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, where a special commission had met and a Deputy Minister had signed the letter of agreement. The name of this Deputy Minister and the entire documentation were classified by Minister Petya Avramova, who refused to provide the information under the Access to Public Information Act (APIA).

Informed mismanagement

Burgas Regional Governor Valcho Cholakov must also be charged with mismanagement. There is a special article 221a of the Penal Code calling for three years behind bars and a fine of BGN 100 to BGN 300 for those who order or allow construction on agricultural land or pastures.
In such cases, the prosecution usually gets away with the trick that it cannot prove intent. However, it is a fact that Cholakov became aware of the illegal construction in 2018, when he was asked questions by Bivol, and failed to fulfill his obligations under the law.

At the time, Cholakov replied to Bivol’s questions in a letter, saying that he had carried out an inspection and found that the perpetrator of illegal construction on the state property was unknown. He is mandated to disclose such finding to the National Construction Control and the Prosecutor’s Office but apparently failed to do so.

According to insider information obtained by Bivol, National Construction Control employees had not been allowed to inspect other sites built on the properties of Hermes Solar. Obstructing the authorities from doing their job is also a crime under Art. 270 of the Penal Code.

Meanwhile, the Civil Association BOETS (Fighter) filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office against Dogan and Cholakov, demanding that they be detained and charged for the illegal construction.

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