EU Financing for SPA Hotels and Livestock Breeding – Bulgarian Government Official and Local Mayor Are Part of Scheme

A consortium of three companies has built a mineral water pipeline to the “Perun Hotel”, connected to Kiril Kotev, the Mayor of the southern Bulgarian SPA resort town of Sandanski, to “Ediya” Hotel and to the guesthouse in the property of former Deputy Minister of Tourism and now former Deputy Minister of Economy Alexander Manolev. Documents of the Ministry of Environment and Waters (MOEW) for the water catchment show that Manolev is the owner of the property. He denies this fact, which is also documented in the Property Register. Manolev’s hotelier Ana Dimitrova has rented hundreds of decares from the Municipality and has been using European Union (EU) subsidies for livestock breeding. How is she breeding animals with one worker, if there are animals at all, is a mystery.

In 2017, the company “Profstroy” which is linked to the Mayor of Sandanski Kiril Kotev, the company “Ediya”, which is owned by Ivan Stanoev Michev, a person close to Alexander Manolev and “Agrotrade – Ana Dimitrova” incorporated the consortium “Aqua-Spartak”. An investigation by Bivol and the site Blagoevgrad News recently revealed that “Agrotrade” has built the mansion inside Manolev’s property with European money. The activity of the consortium is clearly defined: “Construction and operation of a mineral water pipeline for hotel “Perun” in lot 653354.150.14 and for a guesthouse in lot 65334.226.7841”. The latter property is exactly the one owned by Manolev.

Before our media and in public posts on Facebook, the former Deputy Minister denies that he owns the property and claims to have sold it to Ana Dimitrova in 2012, but documents show otherwise.

Manolev also claims that he has stayed as a customer at the guesthouse built on his land for which he had invoices, while Ana Dimitrova says in an interview with Trud daily how he had helped her start her hotel business by being one of her main patrons and attracting other clients by “word of mouth”.

Said clients cannot rent separate rooms but only the entire house, which can accommodate up to ten people, and as it becomes clear from the interview – they cannot be just some random people. It is a fact that the house is not advertised anywhere and cannot be rented if one is not privy to the word of mouth. Even the Ministry of Tourism was unable to find a phone for contacts after a pressing request by Bivol but said that the Mayor of Sandanski had failed to fulfill his obligations under the Tourism Act, which include public listing of an address, phone and fax numbers for each accommodation facility in the Municipality.

Mayor and Deputy Minister divert mineral water

The water catchment issue has been settled prior to the construction of the water pipeline. In 2016, the manager of “Agrotrade – Ana Dimitrova” has requested from the Basin Directorate “West Aegean Region” a permit for catchment of mineral water which is an exclusive state property. The request explicitly states that the purpose of the declared use of the water is “ailment prophylaxis in a guesthouse in a property owned by Alexander Dimitrov Manolev, who has granted a right to build on the property to “Agrotrade – Ana Dimitrova”.

Accordingly, the Basin Directorate has informed the Mayor of Sandanski Kiril Kotev with a letter. Bivol was unable to find on the site of the Basin Directorate such applications by the other two companies in the consortium – “Profstroy” and “Ediya”. On the other hand, there are data for inspections in 2018 and a sanction for “Profstroy” for breach of the Rules of Declaration and non-fulfillment of obligations under the Water Act.

Kiril Andonov Kotev – now Mayor of Sandanski from the ruling party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), his brother Ivan Andonov Kotev and their mother Lyudmila Ivanova Koteva, had been owners “Profstroy” until November 2014. The current owners are only Ivan and Lyudmila. The company owns the land and the building of hotel “Perun”, which is located north of Sandanski on the road to the resort “Popina Luka”. A little further north is the family hotel “Ediya”, and at the end of the mineral water pipeline is the guesthouse inside Manolev’s property.
Ana Dimitrova absorbs farming subsidies from the EU for livestock breeding but has no animals?

In addition to hotel accommodations through the guesthouse and water pipeline construction, “Agrotrade” is also engaged in livestock breeding for which it receives EU subsidies. The company is listed in a notice on the site of the State Fund Agriculture (SFA), the body in charge of distributing the EU funds, asking the recipients of livestock subsidies to contact the Fund, as they could not be found at the addresses provided by them.

The address 10 “Daskal Kozarev” Street in Sandanski, where Ana Dimitrova could not be found, matches the registered address of Alexander Manolev’s sister – Raya Dimitrova Manoleva. She is a judge in the Sandanski District Court.
According to a reference on the SFA website, in 2018 alone, “Agrotrade” has absorbed BGN 63,697 in farming subsidies, much of them from European programs. Bivol requested from the SFS payment data for previous years, but we did not receive an answer by the editorial closure of the article.

Since March 2019, “Agrotrade” has leased 450 decares of municipal land from the Sandanski Municipality for ten years for BGN 78,850 and another 100 decares for five years against only BGN 1,000.

As Bivol noted in its first publication on the subject of Manolev’s guesthouse, since 2015 until today, the company “Agrotrade – Ana Dimitrova” had been providing health and retirement benefits to one single person. It is unclear how the company had managed to run for years a hotel, breed livestock and build a mineral water supply pipeline.


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