The list of properties of the Director General of UNESCO and Bulgarian candidate to lead the United Nations (UN) Irina Bokova turned out to be like the title of the Bollywood comedy LPNY (London, Paris, New York), or, if you prefer , like a red box of Dunhill cigarettes.
Such is the recap after Bivol found evidence of two more family properties of Irina Bokova and her husband Kalin Mitrev. In addition to the two apartments in New York, they also own one in London and one in Paris.
The income Bokova and Mitrev, though not small by any means, is not enough to justify such investments. There is a gap of some 2 million US dollars.
Bivol revealed in a previous publication that in 2012 and 2014, Bokova and Mitrev acquired two apartments in Manhattan for 2.5 million US dollars, and the son of Irina Bokova has paid off in a record time a mortgage of 600,000 US dollars.
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Irina Bokova explained that these purchases have been financed with salaries and bonuses she received as Head of UNESCO and that they were substantial. Bivol’s new inquiry reveals the amount of the bonuses received by Bokova, but even these impressive figures prove insufficient to finance such large purchases.
Bokova and Mitrev’s property acquisitions
The shopping spree of the family with communist roots in world capitals of capitalism began in Paris, after Irina Bokova became Director-General of UNESCO. She took office in early 2010. In 2011, she bought an apartment in Paris; in 2012 -one in New York; in March 2014 – another one in New York; in August 2014 – one in London. These acquisitions are worth a total of 4,879,000 US dollars. Only the apartment in Paris was purchased with a ten-year mortgage, the rest were paid in cash.
Paris – $ 1,126,000
In 2010, Irina Bokova moved to a rent-free apartment in Paris, owned by UNESCO. A year later, on May 27, 2011, the family acquired an apartment in Paris in the prestigious 7th arrondissement (district).
Its price was € 1,000,000 or $ 1,126,000. The deal was financed with a down payment of € 376 500 ($ 424,000) and a then-year mortgage in the amount of€ 623,500, which makes a monthly payment of nearly € 6,000. About € 250,000 or $ 282,000 should have been paid between 2011 and 2014.
New York, New York! – $ 2,414,000
The largest investment of Bokova and Mitrev is in New York, where in two years they have acquired two apartments. These properties are described in detail in a previous story of Bivol on the subject. We recall that the first Manhattan apartment was bought on November 6, 2012 and paid for in cash in the amount of $ 1,189,000 and the second was bought on March 4, 2014 for $ 1,225,000.
London – $ 1,339,000
The apartment in London was bought on August 4, 2014 for £ 925,000 or $ 1,339,000, showed a check in the British Property Registry. There is no evidence of a mortgage loan for this property.
London is the city where Irina Bokova’s husband works. Kalin Mitrev served seven years as director in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and was appointed to the post by the government of the Three-Party Coalition. During the term of the first government “Borisov”, he was replaced, but the socialist-endorsed government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski reinstated him at the beginning of 2014. Despite the decision of the government “Borisov 2” from the end of 2014 to once again replace Mitrev at the post, he is still at work in the EBRD, which can be explained only by heavy lobbying by Bokova and by Borisov’s coalition partner – the left-wing ABV party. Anyway, Mitrev’s salary after 2014 is not relevant to the general calculation of the family income in connection with the above purchases.
So far, we have real estate totaling $ 4,879,000, of which $ 4,459,000 has been paid by 2014 (the remainder is the mortgage for the apartment in Paris). To this sum we must add fees for notaries and local taxes, which on average amount to 5% of the value or $ 244,000.
It turns out that by the end of 2014, Bokova and Mitrev have to prove income in the amount of $ 4,703,000.
Irina Bokova and Kalin Mitrev’s income in the ten years prior to the purchases
We examined the income from salaries of the family for a period of ten years, prior to making the purchases. During this period both have worked as Bulgarian and international officials, except the three years during which Mitrev was in private business. Our calculations are based on responses we received after sending formal requests to UNESCO and the EBRD. Unfortunately, the answers of these institutions are not precise and provide averages and approximate amounts only for the period 2013-2014. It is logical to assume that the amounts for the previous years were lower, but we used the most recent figures, which is some sort of a bonus for Bokova and Mitrev.
Irina Bokova – impressive bonuses and contributions in kind
“I have one of the largest salaries in the UN system and the origin of my money is proven,” Bokova said in an interview for bTV after Bivol published the information on her apartments in New York. “My salary is about 150 thousand dollars a year and there is an additional adjustment that is roughly in the same amount,” she added.
This information is not accurate. Bokova is being modest. The salary is slightly higher – $ 160,000 a year, while the bonuses amount to nearly $ 250,000 a year. But even with these fantastic for the Bulgarian standard revenues, Bokova’s calculations don’t add up.
In the previous investigation of Bivol in the real estate in Manhattan, we examined not only Bokova’s salaries, but revenues from the sale of property in Bulgaria. They totaled $ 380,000. We added the possible cost of living savings from the time she was Bulgarian Ambassador in Paris and employee of the Foreign Ministry, or an additional $ 130,000. So far, the total amount is worth less than half an apartment.
This is what Bokova has received for sure as Director General of UNESCO in 2010 – 2014, according to official information received from press office of the organization:
Net wage: 5 x $ 160,000 = $ 800,000
Compensation (post adjustment) for “stay in Paris”: 5 x $ 74,500 = $ 372,000
These figures are cited by UNESCO spokesman George Papagiannis in response to the first request for information by Bivol. Since the answer mentions other bonuses for which no information was given, we asked for details, but received them as a lump sum for all 20 key employees of UNESCO. We deducted from this lump sum the already mentioned “stay in Paris” adjustment, divided it by 20 and got the following:
Other compensation: 5 x $ 125,000 = $ 625,000
Entitlements (Allowances, grants and subsidies) = 5 x 52800 = $ 264,000
Kalin Mitrev – sinecure in EBRD and for a short time – in private business
In the period that is subject to our scrutiny, Kalin Mitrev was Board Director at the EBRD from the quota of Bulgaria for seven years – from 2004 to 2010. He was again appointed to the post in 2014, but his salary for 2015 is not included in our estimates.
These data lead to the conclusion that Mitrev’s salary has grown over the years with a progression of 5%. If 2014 it was € 178,000 and € 169,000 in 2013, then in 2010 he received about € 144,000 and only € 106 000 in 2004. For his benefit, we assume that in each of those seven years he received an annual salary of € 150,000. This makes € 1,050,000 or $ 1,176,000.
The question to EBRD included a request of information on the likely bonuses received by Mitrev, but these were not mentioned in the reply.
From 2010 until 2014, Mitrev was in private business in Bulgaria. His income is not known, but can hardly be compared with the one from the EBRD. We assume an average annual income of $ 25,000, or a 4 x $ 25,000 = $ 100,000
Thus, Mitrev’s income can be rounded to $ 1,276,000.
Family income of $ 3,847,000 without tax
It is known that the salaries and bonuses of employees in sinecure international institutions such as UNESCO and the EBRD are not taxed. They are practically freeloaders at the expense of the institution, using free housing, transport, and rarely paying for their meals. But on the other hand, it is impossible to not have any expenses whatsoever.
When a common person applies for a mortgage, the bank considers their credit worthiness which should be in the range of 30-50% of their income. It is impossible to be granted a loan whose installments amount to 70% of the family income.
We assume, however, that the “blessed” Bokova and Mitrev have invested 70% of the family income in property acquisitions, and lived comfortably in the last ten years with the remaining 30%. 70% of $ 3,847,000 is $ 2,692,000.
After we draw the line, we have property acquisitions for $ 4.7 million US dollars with a usable income of 2.7 million US dollars.
This inquiry does not include property maintenance costs, but they are far from small, as the apartments are in prestigious locations. Only one of the apartments in New York has an annual maintenance fee of 12,000 US dollars, according to NYC tax registries.
In an interview for BTV Irina Bokova voiced outrage that along her past purchases we have examined the properties of her son, who has been a proxy in the family’s property transactions. He also bought an apartment in New York and repaid the mortgage of $ 600,000 in record time. In order to not hurt the parental feelings of the head of UNESCO, this amount was not included in the total bill for the family estate. But even without those $ 600,000 Bokova and Mitrev should explain the miraculous appearance of nearly 2 million US dollars in their accounts.
Again, we emphasize that when there is uncertainty about the income, it is calculated to the benefit of the recipient. Either way, there are about
2 million US dollars whose origin should be clarified.
Bivol approached Irina Bokova for comment by sending questions to the press office of UNESCO and the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. UNESCO responded that the property status of the Director General of the organization is not relevant to her functions.
We never received a response from the Foreign Ministry, despite persistent reminders of Bivol in the last three weeks, addressed to the press office of Minister Daniel Mitov. Meanwhile, it became clear that the Ministry has formed a team to work on Bokova’s candidacy for UN Secretary-General. This team will be presented to the public on Monday, March 21. In April, the UN will start the first hearings of candidates for the highest international post.
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