Brothers Stanishev at the exhibit of architect Norman Foster in 2007
“And I have provided for the Prime Minister years ago, should I mention this thing,” complains businessman Petar Bachvarov before the microphone of a journalist from the newspaper Politika (Politics).
“When were you providing for him?
Well, he was in France with me, as a student … I’ve helped him. Does it matter whatsoever?”
What matters and what Peter Bachvarov does not see is the following: when Stanishev “grew up” and became Prime Minister of Bulgaria, his French benefactor received a sea waterfront terrain for 7 euros per square meter with the active assistance of party comrade and mayor of Tsarevo Petko Arnaudov. Meanwhile Sergei Stanishev’s brother – architect Georgiy Stanishev – became the designer of the hotel complex the businessman wanted to build on municipal land.
On July 4, 2003, the town council of Tsarevo voted a positive decision to sell 2382 square meters of municipal property for 33000 levs to Peter Rusev Bachvarov. Against this preferential price, which was times below the market one, he was obliged to make an “investment”: to change the designation of the property; to prepare a detailed urban development plan; to build a hotel and to create at least 20 jobs. This is stated in the conceptual design project, presented before Tsarevo’s municipality, while architect Georgiy Stanishev, brother of Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, was the author of the project.
Mayor Petko Arnaudov, however, sealed a contract without these conditional clauses. And the businessman did not even make arrangements for a building permit within the deadline required by Tsarevo’s municipal council.
The case is described at length in the audit report of the Public Financial Inspection Agency for the Tsarevo Municipality from August 2005, which lists a total of 105 violations of the law. The Burgas Prosecutor’s Office, controlled by “loyal and reliable” prosecutors, close to the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), did not even lift a finger to tackle any of these controversial findings of the Public Financial Inspection Agency.
Exactly the same scheme was applied in the infamous deal for 130 decares of municipal land, right behind the beach “Coral”, sold to a company close to Burgas Mayor Dimitar Nikolov (from the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB). Against the unrealistically low price of 7 US dollars per square meter, the company “Vitatur Invest” was obliged to build hotels and create 500 jobs. That was not done, and years later the lands were sold at a fantastic profit at prices from 200 to 400 euros per square meter This became possible because Petko Arnaudov and the legal counsel of the municipality, Evgeniy Mosinov, (a leading functionary of BSP Burgas) “missed” including into the contractual clauses the condition for cancelling the deal; a condition that was explicitly voted by the municipal council of Tsarevo. The Burgas Prosecutor’s Office obscured this infamous case and saw no damage to the municipality or intent in the actions of the mayor and his cronies.
Instead of facing the court on abuse of power charges, Arnaudov boasted to fellow party members that the contact with architect Stanishev had strengthened his connections in the party – close and lasting connections for many years to come. In the summer of 2013, the former mayor, known as the gravedigger of Nature Park Strandza and mastermind of scandalous attacks against nature and the rule of law, was reassigned to head the forestry in Tsarevo.
The Crusade against Strandza and journalists
The scheme, described above, was exposed in 2007 after an investigation of journalists Asen Yordanov and Maria Nikolaeva for the newspaper Politics. At that time, the newspaper has not yet been bought by Delyan Peevski’s mother and Asen Yordanov published a series of materials titled “The Crusade against Strandza.”
Once she recorded Bachvarov, who behaved like a mutra (thug) and threatened her with a visit to the editorial office, Maria Nikolaeva was indeed visited in the office by thugs who brought there the newspaper issue where the first part of the investigation was published. The newspaper “boasted” a stamp from the Parliament used for issues that are send there and which are not for sale. The intruders threatened Nikolaeva with being splashed with acid if the investigation continued and if the second part of the publication, which included the article on Stanishev, ever saw the light.
Meanwhile, the entire circulation of “Politics” for Burgas and the region was bought out and did not reach the newsstands. The second part of the investigation was still published because the newspaper did not bend and even made public the threats against Nikolaeva. The circulation was again bought out by an unknown person.
Several months later, Asen Yordanov was attacked in Burgas. But he managed to fight off the attackers, who ambushed him the dark, outside his home, armed with knives and metal bars.
Naturally, neither the Interior Ministry nor the Prosecution managed to discover the aggressors who threatened Nikolaeva, although security cameras and witnesses recorded the license plates of the SUVs parked by the brazen gangsters in front of the office of the newspaper “Politics.” The fate of the investigation in the attack against Asen Yordanov was similar. Nikolaeva’s and Yordanov’s cases were taken on record by “Reporters without Borders” and ended in a detailed report on repression against journalists in Bulgaria.
The report by Reporters Without Borders in 2009 (see here) pays special attention to threats against Nikolaeva and Yordanov
The sequence of events clearly demonstrates causality. Key information, for which thug squads of BSP were activated in order to prevent its publication, is associated with “providing for” Stanishev in France and the scam with the land and hotels in Tsarevo.
Today, after statements of architect Georgiy Stanishev that he would “thrash” anyone who connects him to the project to build on the wild beach Karadere, it is worth looking at how the empowered brothers acted in the past, while, according to some indications, they are ready to act now against inconvenient journalists shedding light on blatant conflict of interest of the family Stanishev.
To cover-up the mounting scandals around Stanishev, all the power of the propaganda machine has been now harnessed. Even the so-called “dissident” in BSP, Georgi Kadiev, interpreted in an interview for the site “Mediapool” these facts as “black PR” against Stanishev.
But the stories with the grant from the European Parliament to Monica Stanisheva (wife of Sergei Stanishev – editor’s note), the scams with municipal lands in Tsarevo, the scandalous swap of 700 decares in Karadere in the project of Foster & Stanishev and the existing certificate granted to an offshore British investor are not invented, nor can be invented by journalists, both in the past and in the present. Journalists only record and document how the proceeds of power are acquired and distributed in the family of the repainted communist from the Establishment (as Stanishev is labeled in the Swiss newspaper “Le Temps” in its Wednesday’ publication), and leader of the Party of European Socialists (PES).
Bivol urges witnesses of Peter Bachvarov’s “providing for” Stanishev in France to contact the editorial office. Too little is known about this episode in the life of the former Prime Minister, but it is definitely worth it to learn more.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian