Companies Linked to Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism Absorb “Mere” BGN 28m from Public Bids

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Companies and consortia with the participation of Panayot Panayotov, father of the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova, have won public procurement for nearly BGN 13 million.

Panayot Nikolov Panayotov is the co-owner of “Graphite Commerce” Ltd., registered in the city of Kardzhali. The public contracts won by this company (including as part of the consortiums “Zhenda DZZD” and “Banite DZZD”, in which the company has a small share) are mainly for construction and repair of roads and bridges. The total amount is BGN 11,855,469, a check in the Register of the Agency for Public Orders reveals.

Apart from this, the consortium “BG GROUP 2010”, with 50% participation of “Graphite Commerce” has won orders for BGN 960,111 from the municipality of Kirkovo.

Angelkova is one of the three daughters of Panayot Panayotov. Prior to becoming Minister of Tourism in 2014, Nikolina Nikolova – Angelkova has worked in the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, has been a member of the Management Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency and, until 2013, was Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works.

Angelkova’s was first appointed minister in 2014 in the caretaker government of Georgi Bliznashki where she was Minister of Transport. That same year she married luxury real estate broker Hristo Angelkov (the photo from the wedding is from the site 24 Rhodopes), whom she met during a specialization in the United States in 2009.

Thus, Angelakova’s “dream team” grows to include Krassimir Shalev, a partner of Angelkov in the luxury real estate company “Iris Estates”.

Krassimir Shalev is also the owner of the construction company “Bigla 3“, whose assets include public procurement orders for BGN 15,774,590 of which nearly BGN 2.5 million are from the energy efficiency program for building rehabilitation.

The company pops up as contractor in the scandalous repair and reconstruction works of the National Museum of Bulgarian Fine Arts. The contract for this repair, amounting to BGN 3.6 million, was signed on February 23, 2010, between the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the Ministry of Culture of then-Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov.

Angelkova’s official CV lists her in 2010 as Head of the Control, Communication and Coordination Unit at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.

However, the control of the museum’s repairs has clearly not been outstanding, as auditors of the Ministry of Culture subsequently revealed invoiced, but not carried out repairs for BGN hundreds of thousands.

“Bigla 3” is also the company that has provided a cheap apartment to the brother of the current Bulgarian EU Commissioner Maria Gabriel. While Gabriel had been using for years cheap municipal housing for BGN 400 a month, her brother Boris Nedelchev (now 36 years old) had managed to acquire a big apartment in Sofia. Bivol revealed that he had made a profitable deal with “Bigla 3” that generated big profit for him within three years. In fact, this apartment turns out free for him.

Besides construction and luxury properties, Krassimir Borisov Shalev is also involved in state affairs. He is a regional development assistant to the office of Dimitar Gechev, lawmaker from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.

It is a fact that relatives and businessmen from Angelkova’s circle lack the amplitude of those around GERB lawmaker Delyan Dobrev. As revealed by Bivol (as early as March 2017), they have managed to pile up public procurement for over BGN 100 million, mainly in building refurbishing and rehabilitation. On the other hand, Angelkova’s government term has not expired, and the race for the most successful “dream team” of high-ranking officials is still in full swing.



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