Bulgarian Prosecution ‘Launders’ Fraud for EUR 200 M with Expired Statute of Limitations

Екип на Биволъ

The prominent businesswoman Ginka Varbakova has indeed presented to the Bulgarian Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) a fake bank guarantee for EUR 200 million to obtain a license for the “Real States” company to produce electricity. However, the guarantee is a private document and the statute of limitations for its unlawful use is five years and it has expired. For this reason, on December 10, 2018, the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office terminated the case on the signal by Bivol.

Furthermore, Ginka Varbakova and the company had not obtained any profit from the issuance of the license, according to prosecutor M. Dimitrova. On these grounds, she rejects the “document fraud” premise under Art. 212, mentioned in signal.

Interestingly, the Prosecutor’s Office has closed the case without even waiting for a response from the United Kingdom under a legal assistance request to determine whether DEANFIELD SOLUTIONS is a bank or not. There is no official data about such a banking institution. The company itself is dormant, while among its managers one can find the name of Roberto Pontiggia, who has been arrested in Italy for financial fraud at the request of that same Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office, as an earlier investigation by Bivol revealed.

Let’s not unearth it because it will reek

However, it has been firmly established that it was precisely Ginka Varbakova who has represented the “Real States” company, which is officially registered to her mother Petrana Paytakova. Varbakova has also filed the documents necessary to prove the financial and technical capacities to build a photovoltaic power plant of 60 MW near the southern city of Pazardzhik. The EUR 200 million guarantee was attached to the documentation on August 6, 2010.

The energy watchdog has considered this document as sound proof of financial collateral for the project. Thus, on August 23, 2010, the EWRC issued to the “Real States” EOOD license #L-336-01 for the production of electricity, valid for 25 years.

However, the fraudulent license had not been used, the Prosecution Office further establishes. “Real States” actually sold electricity at preferential prices to the EVN electric power utility, but only from a 2.45 MW facility (instead of the stated 60 MW). As there is no need of an electricity production license for power plants below 5MW, accordingly, there has been no direct profit for the company from the license obtained through the fake bank guarantee, the prosecution concludes. In 2015, “Real States” has requested and obtained from the EWRC the suspension of the license as the conditions for buying at preferential prices have changed and were no longer so profitable.

The EWRC’s work on issuing and terminating the license on the grounds of a fake document is not considered a damage and the bill has been footed by the taxpayers.

Eventually, the case was crushed without a formal response from the United Kingdom and without even questioning the former company manager Roberto Pontiggia.

This rush to close the case obviously benefits Ginka Varbakova as the disclosure of the fake guarantee is a serious reputational damage to the government’s darling – the businesswoman from Pazardzhik, who is a candidate to buy the Bulgarian assets of the State-owned Czech electric power utility, CEZ.

Thus, once again, the prosecution has proven that its priority is not to clarify all the facts and circumstances surrounding a large-scale swindle, but to blur an affair involving a person close to those in power.

Or as the prominent Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov once wrote: “When unearthed, it reeks”…

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