Company Gives ‘Free’ Apartment to Bulgarian European Commissioner’s Brother

Bulgarian European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel’s brother, Boris Nedelchev, has managed to acquire a big apartment in Sofia. He has made a very profitable deal with the company “Bigla 3”, which is close to the country’s rulers. The deal has generated a big profit for Nedelchev in just three years. In fact, his apartment turned out free. At the time of these property deals, Gabriel had been using cheap municipal housing for BGN 400 per month, which in seven years had saved her nearly BGN 80,000 that she did not declare to the European Parliament.

“The housing development “Dianabath Residence” is located on “Pimen Zografski” Str. in the “Dianabath” district, in a quiet, safe, serene and yet accessible location, with built infrastructure, close to a school, a day care, a subway station and surrounded by many parks,” this is how the owner of the construction company “Bigla 3” advertises one of its many projects in the elite “Iztok” district of Sofia. The prices there are on average about EUR 1,000 per square meter.

For a common citizen to buy a decent home in such a development, they have to have a minimum of EUR 50,000. “Bigla 3” sells its finished apartments at similar market rates. Boris Nedelchev, however, did not buy in 2014 a finished unit, but a “right to build” for an apartment of 82 square meters. The declared price is BGN 39,000 or EUR 237 per square meter. In the following 2015, Nedelchev exchanged the apartment for a larger one – 96.94 square meters, for which he paid “Bigla 3” BGN 32,000. On September 19, 2016, the exchange was entered in a notary deed, in which additional material interest was not declared. Thus, according to documents, the apartment cost Nedelchev the almost symbolical amount of BGN 71,000.

One more year passed, and at the end of 2016, the new homeowners, Boris Nedelchev and his wife, sold the same apartment for BGN 180,000 – bingo! The family came out of the fast real estate deals with over BGN 100,000 in net profit.

Several months earlier, they bought an apartment of 100 square meters in another neighborhood for BGN 100,318. Simple math shows that the profits from the “Dianabath” apartment have completely covered this purchase.
We must point out here that the builder “Bigla 3” has given the right to build in this building only to the brother of Mariya Gabriel and no one else. All other apartments have been sold finished, at prices that match the market ones. In addition, there are no mortgage entries in the Property Register in the name of the brother and sister-in-law of the European Commissioner. They have paid cash for the right to build, and then for the profitable exchange.
It is hard to find a logical explanation why “Bigla 3” had extended such a huge financial gesture to this family. However, there is one very interesting fact in “Bigla’s” real estate entries that attracted our attention.

A trick once again with Sofiiski Imoti (Sofia Properties)…

The “Bigla 3” company has also been involved with the Sofia Municipality, which, as we know, in the last 12 years has been permanently run by Gabriel’s party, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) and has provided to her a cheap municipal apartment.

In 2013, “Bigla 3” and Boyan Boyanov bought from the Sofia Municipality attributable parts of land plots with a total area of 514 square meters. The municipal plots have apparently been listed as salable after a change in the regulation plan and have shaped the “Dianabath” terrains where “Bigla 3” has built an entire neighborhood, including Nedelchev’s apartment building.

There is no information on the sale price, but considering the registration fee of BGN 332 (which is 0.1% of the material interest) it should be EUR 165,000. This is nearly three times cheaper than the average price for such properties at that time, while in 2013 similar plots had been selling at the head-spinning prices of more than EUR 1 million, according to the statistics by the site

We searched for information on the company, one of the largest in the industry. We asked who could tell us about the particular deal with Nedelchev in 2014 and the secretary gave us the phone number of the marketing director Ivan Angelov. We contacted Mr. Angelov and asked him if he remembered this special client Boris Nedelchev and the right to build. Angelov could not remember but said that if he would decide to provide this information to us, he would get in touch. We sent him the details of the deal via text message, but we did not receive any reply. We could not find Mariya Gabriel’s brother, nor his wife for comment.

What is “Bigla 3”?

Krassimir Shalev, who is also behind the investment company “Shalev Investment Group”, is the owner of “Bigla 3”. The company is one of the largest in the industry and in 2016 it won the “Building of the Year” award.

Shalev is a partner in “Iris Estates” and “Iris Trade” with Hristo Angelkov, the husband of current GERB Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova.

A consortium with the participation of “Bigla 3” won in 2011 the tender for the major overhaul of the National Museum of Bulgarian Fine Arts (the former Prince’s Palace). The amount is BGN 2.4 million. However, according to an audit of the Ministry of Culture, published by Bivol, the assigned works had been poorly executed and the contractor and the designer had inflicted damages to the State with poor repair activities that the construction supervision had, nevertheless, approved.

On its own or in various consortia, “Bigla 3” has won public procurement for over BGN 13 million, shows a reference to the Public Procurement Register. As is well known, one of the distinctive features of GERB’s rule is that it distributes public procurement exclusively to companies close to the party’s leadership.


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