Bulgarian State Sold Quaint Beach for Pocket Change

During the inspection of beaches along the northern Black Sea Coast, it was found that the beach at Taukliman Bay (the Birds Bay also known as Nanevska Tuzla) is a private property and there is no access to it, except by water, Bulgarian Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova said a week ago.

The truth is harsher. Access by land to this small beach is not only restricted, but when people try to reach it, they can face guards armed with Kalashnikovs.

 

An outrageous citizen contacted Bivol and sent pictures and a story about what was happening to Taukliman’s visitors.

The Minister’s PR statements did not clarify whether the State would re-establish the access; who is the property owner; who are the armed people stopping beachgoers and why the institutions are allowing all this. On the other hand, Angelkova attacked with a detachment of officials from the Ministry of the Interior, the Municipality of Tsarevo and the Ministry of Environment and Waters vacationers camping on beach “Coral”, which is open to all visitors. This also included nighttime searches of tents, something unheard of since the time of “developed Socialism”.

Bivol conducted its own investigation into Taukliman’s beach that crystal clearly exposes the reason for the institutions’ unwillingness to deal with this private beach.

The owner of the property is the company ASPA Ltd., registered in the Black Sea city of Varna with subject of activity tour operator and travel services. Bivol used the listed phone contacts and reached a representative of the company, who told us that the property had been bought a long time ago, there were no new construction and tourist activity. According to her, it is guarded by three people, but she had no information that they were not allowing vacationers to access the beach. The attempt to contact one of the owners remained futile by the time of the editorial completion of the article.

A check in the Trade Register shows that at the moment half of ASPA Ltd. is owned by the Varna businessmen Georgi and Kolyo Kechovski and Katya Dimitrova. There is no evidence of them being connected to the underworld. However, the other half of the company is held by Lachezar Kostadinov Dinchev, who has an interesting business biography of a

Gambling and weapon boss associated with emblematic figures from the former Communist secret services – the State Security (DS)

At the beginning of the mafia wars in Bulgaria in the 1990s, Dinchev was on the Board of Directors of the company “IGM”, a leading one in the gambling industry, as an inquiry in the official State Gazette reveals. In 1994, he sat at board meetings together with infamous mobster Mladen “Madzho” Yordanov Mihalev, the boss of the alleged organized crime group SIC, to which our current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov also supposedly belonged.

 

IGM was founded a year earlier and was jointly owned by several notorious figures – Vasil “The Skull” Bozhkov, the murdered boss of Multigroup, Iliya Pavlov, Mladen “Madzho” Mihalev, his father-in-law, Borislav Paunov, and two employees of the former Communist regime services, Oleg Ivanov and Plamen Manov.

In 1996, Lachezar Dinchev left this elite group and started dealing with arms and real estate on the Black Sea coast. At present, he is a majority shareholder in the weapons trade firm Defense Industries Group, where the ex-Head of Department 3 of DS, Colonel Atanas Kremenliev, also holds shares.

In recent years, the company has seen a significant profit growth, no doubt linked to the overall upsurge in the Bulgarian arms industry due to orders from the United States and Saudi Arabia for Syrian rebels. But let’s go back to the properties of ASPA. A reference in the Property Register shows how

The State sold the beach for pocket change

At first, ASPA managed to acquire in 2000, against BGN 38,000, the former holiday village at the southern end of the Navevska Tuzla, which was a protected area. The village consists of four cottages and a cafeteria. The seller was “Contract 2001”, which is in liquidation since 2000. There is no information in the Property Register on the circumstances under which “Contract 2001” has acquired the village, but through the majority owner Meridian Capital, the trail leads to a privatization fund of Multigroup.

 

Seven years later, in 2007, the institutions decided to take care of turning the attractive village into a completely private property with a private beach. The Regional Governor of Dobrich sold to ASPA the land on which the holiday village was built. The Land Registry shows a very “nice price” of BGN 1.8 per square meter of forests.

There are two properties, which include the beach, and they still have a forestry status, according to cadaster data. According to the last annual financial report of ASPA, they are estimated at BGN 233,000.

However, on paper, there are is no beach, despite the obvious natural landscape

 

According to documents and according to the Cadaster, there is no beach at Taukliman. There is a private property.

The situation with these properties is extremely strange, as they have been built long ago with the holiday village. Subsequently, the land became a forest fund, and buildings there were banned, but the existing ones were left there. The properties do not fall within the territory of the natural reserve, which is in the immediate vicinity.

The properties of ASPA are not included in the adjacent Kaliakra Reserve (in purple on the cadastral map).

Thus, even de jure, the access to the property can be restricted by the owner both by land and by water. According to the State, what the eyes see on the picture is not a small, cozy beach, to which every citizen has access under the Constitution, but a forest. And this forest is already private. Under these circumstances, no one can argue that the shoreline is exclusive State property and everyone can have access to it!

Photo: Evgeni Dinev, Wikimedia

The case of Taukliman’s beach reminds of what happened to the water sports base on Cape Chukalyata, south of the Black Sea city of Burgas. There is now the sea seraglio of Ahmed Dogan, the Honorary Lifetime Chairman of the party largely representing Bulgarian Muslims – Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), who has also privatized parts of the coast. This was also done through dubious privatization, acquisition of buildings, subsequently the property, and finally part of the State border, so that no one can disturb his summer vacation. And this happened with the full cooperation of all institutions in the State under three consecutive governments. By the way, the beach near the seraglio also turned out not to be a beach, but a meadow, just like the Taukliman turned into a forest.

Therefore, at two locations along the coast, Bulgaria’s State border has been privatized by bosses of criminal groups and snitches from the DS who are guarding it with Kalashnikovs – not from foreign invaders, but from Bulgarian citizens.

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