The sole-owner company “ALFA – Vesselka Velcheva ET” of the 72-year-old Vesselka Assenova Velcheva is participating in the upgrade of the Bulgarian Trade (also known as Commercial) Register under the European project for “Good Governance“, together with the infamous in the country IT companies “Information Services” and “Ciensis”. The Registry Agency says the upgrade has no bearing on the current problem, and the latter is the responsibility of the company providing the website support. The issue is quite thorny because the Trade Register and the Register of Non-Profit Legal Entities have been inaccessible for a number of days now.

The official name of the European project is “Upgrade of the Commercial register for integration with the platform for data exchange between commercial registers in the EU, register of legal non-profit entities incorporation, integration with the Property register, single entry point, and transition of the central register of special pledges”. Its value is BGN 1,999,415.78, of which 85% is European co-financing.

The company “ALPHA – Vesselka Velcheva ET” owns the beauty salon “Peperuda” (Butterfly), according to a post on Facebook by the young Bulgarian computer specialist David Mavdoriev. A beauty salon with such a name exists on 4 “Lyulin Planina” Str. in the capital Sofia. A job opening announcement by “ALFA – Vesselka Velcheva ET” lists a phone number which Bivol used to reach the owner Vesselka Velcheva.

“But now they are about to blow up…”

“We do not host and support the Trade Register,” Vesselka Velcheva told us. When asked what kind of services the company provides, she directed us to the “accounting department” but warned us that “now they are about to blow up”.

“Mrs. Velcheva’s company has made two banners,” said the accountant. He referred to a small public procurement award and invoices to the Registry Agency. His words made it clear that the beauty salon is also engaged in advertising and the absorbed funds under the project were meant for “Providing Activities” Information and Communication “for about BGN 2,300.

However, the Information System for Management and monitoring of EU funds in Bulgaria 2020, does not specify the specific activities and amounts paid to the project contractors, but only their names and Unified Identification Codes (UIC).

Vesselka Velcheva is the sole owner of two companies: “Alfa Vesselka Velcheva” and “ALFA-G”. “Alfa Vesselka Velcheva” has declared over BGN 1 million in sales revenue in 2016 and in BGN 384,000 in 2017. There are no data for other public contracts executed by these two companies except those for the Registry Agency.

The Registry Agency: The upgrade has no bearing on the current problem

Bivol sent inquiries to the Registry Agency’s press office for more detailed information on the role of Vesselka Velcheva and its sole-owner company in the projects for the upgrade of key information systems of the government.

The press office sent direct links to the description of the European projects with the participation of the company (see here and here) and specified that “the upgrade and the projects under the Operational Program” Good Governance” have no bearing on the problems with the access to the Trade Register”.

In addition, the upgrade and the support are performed by different companies. As mentioned above, the upgrade under the European project is the work of “Information Services” (which is a State-owned company) and “Ciensis”, with advertising support from “Alfa Vesselka Velcheva”. The company that supports the Register of Non-Profit Legal Entities is “Lirex BG Ltd”.

Lirex BG” is a provider of software, hardware and support for the information systems of key state institutions, including the National Security Agency (DANS). The company has won public procurement for over BGN 120 million.

The Trade Register “blew up” last Thursday and remains blown up to date. The Registry Agency says they are working on restoring services and have informed the Ministry of the Interior and DANS.

The damages to the Bulgarian business are huge. It is currently impossible to list changes to the current status of the companies and this leads to blocked transactions and transfers of ownership. The Registry Agency does not report when this functionality will be restored, but they say that information on the current status of companies will be available from Wednesday on.

At the moment, inquiries can be made through several specialized systems against a fee and/or through the free search engine of Bivol, which uses the open data of the Trade Register, last updated on June 12, 2018.

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