The election campaign offers a plentiful “harvest” to polling agencies. However, at other times, they don’t starve either and absorb state money. This is revealed in detail in the book by Prof. Emil Horozov “The Business with Projects and the Looting of Science – Manual for the Scoundrel in Power.”
The thoroughly documented book contains data on nearly 4 million levs from the Fund for Scientific Research, which in the period 2008-2010 have vanished in several companies, owned by famous pollsters and other “consultants”, all listed in the same office building at 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd.
Bivol was one of the first media to note the scandal at the Fund for Scientific Research and interviewed Prof. Horozov as early as May 2012. At the end of 2012, the renowned scientific journal “Nature” also wrote about the scandal and the European Commission(EC) launched a probe. In December, scientists staged protest rallies and the announcement that the President of the EC, Jose-Manuel Barroso, had invited Professor Horozov to a meeting led to the resignation of Education Minister Sergey Ignatov in January 2013.
The Usurpers of “Gallup”
Two pollsters, also known to be the wealthy owners of posh golf resorts on the Black Sea coast, Andrey Raychev and Kancho Stoychev, who present their polling agency as “Gallup”, are on the front line of the scheme, but along with them other known agencies such as Mediana and Sova Harris have grabbed pieces of the “state” pie; the names of other eminent pollsters – Zivko Georgiev, Petar-Emil Mitev and Antony Todorov – pop up as well.
Raychev and Stoychev, also mockingly known together as “The Kanchos” have been using for years, totally illegally, the brand and the name of the famous American polling and research firm “Gallup”, for which they were convicted in a Bulgarian Court of law over the complaint by the original American Gallup Inc., an investigation of Bivol in 2012 showed.
“The Sofia City Court finds that since 1968 there is back data in the country on the use of the brand GALLUP for the service “polling of public opinion”, conducted by the American Polling Institute GALLUP INC. – United States, which is associated with the high quality of these services and enjoys wide international reputation. The use of the brand by “Balkan British Social Surveys” has begun under conditions of prominence of the same brand for the services provided by GALLUP INC. – United States. The membership in GALLUP INTERNATIONAL Switzerland since 1992 does not constitute a right for registering the brand in Bulgaria.” The rule is final and has also been conclusively confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court.
The Bulgarian Patent Office revoked Raychev’s and Stoychev’s registration on October 13, 2010. This fact was recorded in the database of WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, on January 14, 2011.
However, “The Kanchos” do not care and continue to use the brand because they feel invincible under any government.
Even now, in the midst of the campaign for the European elections, collective deception and manipulation of the Bulgarian people stream through the media and the institutions: “Gallup International” signs under widely disseminated opinion polls. Media and the public uncritically accept their “high quality” based on “extensive international reputation”, while in reality, we are talking about some Balkan dodgers, who have brazenly appropriated the brand of the famous American agency Gallup. How reliable is Raytchev, Kanchev and Co’s research, when they even lie about their name?
Furthermore, the dodgery of “The Kanchos” is not limited to this fake. They quite obviously dig deep in the pockets of taxpayers through bogus projects for science, the study of Professor Horozov reveals. To get the cherished funding, their numerous agencies and foundations resort to purely knavish tricks with disappearance, replacement and adjustment of reviews and this is when they are not in outright conflict of interest. Here are some of the most notable cases:
1. “Allegro Plus” Ltd., owned by Atanas Gogov, Andrey Raychev and Kancho Stoychev, registered at 23 James Bourchier Blvd. These are the same “Kanchovos”, which both, as the investigation of Bivol showed, brazenly usurped the American brand “Gallup” and do not accept the rule of the court that prohibits them from using it. With their company for advertising and “public relations” services, they have participated in project TC – 09-0375 and have received 147 500 levs for the first stage. The project manager is Professor Krasimira Krastanova, Dean of the Philosophy and History Department of the University of Plovdiv. She is involved in other projects, all of which have received funding. She is also a reviewer of her rival bidders and a member of the committee that evaluates her projects, thus there is no need for the reviews of these projects to disappear. Other eminent scientists also participate in the project – for example, Prof. Dimitar Mirchev expert in the philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov. Obviously, Solovyov’s Christian morality has strongly influenced the compiling of this project (and some other profitable projects) as it has influenced Dostoevsky in creating the character of Alyosha Karamazov.
2. “Reforma Advertising” JSC is a real “family business” of Andrey Raychev, majority owned by his daughter Stella Raycheva, who holds 54% of the shares. The other daughter, Vera Raycheva, is on its Supervisory Board, and the third daughter, Anna-Ilsa Raycheva, is on the Managing Board. Desislava Todorova Olivanova and Martin Dimitrov Evgeniev, who own together with former journalist Miroslava Badzheva “Sofia Advertising” LTD, have 18% each. Badzheva is also on the Board of “Reforma Advertising” and holds 5% of the shares. The company is registered at 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd and has participated in project TK- 09-017, which was funded with 410 000 levs. Its manager is Georgi Lozanov, the Head of the Council for Electronic Media (CEM).
3. “Iris PR” Ltd has as sole owner Mira (Miroslava) Badzheva and has as mailing address 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd. It has participated in project TK-09-0371 headed by Prof. D. Kanev. The project is funded with 250 000 levs, two thirds of which are for the scientists-businessmen. It has been rated the winning bidder by concealing reviews. In contrast, there is a review which holds a record for briefness. The reviewer did not answer a single question and did not write any assessment in the appropriate fields, and finally, in the comment space, it is written in French and English “rating is 99” (note – out of 100).
4. “Grenobul” Ltd. Sofia, whose manager is Stanislava Stantcheva, who is co-owner with Atanas Gogov (the same from “Allegro Plus”). Address: 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd. Grenobul participated in project ID 09-0063, headed by Prof. Dimitar Mirchev, the follower of Solovyov, mentioned above. It was funded with 300 000 levs and rated after concealing reviews and by using reviews from unauthorized reviewers.
5. “F P Advance” – owned and managed by Kaloyan Alexandrov Fol – the name sounds familiar, right? (son of Alexander Fal, who was Minister of Science, Education, Culture during the Communist regime and a person very close to the daughter of Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov – Lyudmila Zhivkova – editor’s note). It is listed at 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd and has participated in project TC – 09-0288, headed by Prof. Mitko Dimitrov. It was funded with 390 000 levs. Otherwise, the company of the son of the famous expert in Thracian history deals with consulting services for governmental and non-governmental organizations, institutions and businesses on issues related to the preparation and management of projects. What science, what 390 thousand levs are we talking about? This project was also rated by hiding reviews!
6. Foundation “Institute Gallup International” (let’s to get back to the point with the fake “Gallup”), with manager Andrey Raychev and address 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd, won project RNF01 – 0114. It was funded with 110 000 levs. The reviews will be discussed later. Prof. Emil Horozov was sanctioned for inflated sums to pay the “scientists”, but the people, who masterminded the plan with financial allocations, were not punished, although, according to the contract, they are the ones responsible for this.
Helpers of the fake “Gallup” in the utilization of these funds for science are other well-known researchers of public opinion:
7. “Mediana” LTD, with manager and owner Nikola Kolev;
8. “Sova 5” JSC, with CEO and majority owner Vassil Tonchev;
The latter scientific organization won another project bid, this time for 275 000 levs, in the following year – 2009. It was submitted by the National Sports Academy, but the bulk of the money was received by “Sova 5” JSC. How was the bid in question – ID 09-0196 – won? With 6 reviews, 4 of which were concealed. The other two reviews were written by a Turkish reviewer, who is not authorized to do them and has no scientific degrees and titles, and by a Bulgarian sports expert, who wrote the review in English. However, the project is not at all related to sports, but to sociological research. And the reviewer in question wrote a single review.
Let’s take a look at some reviews. One of the reviewers answered a question on participation in other projects that there was no such participation and gave 0 points out of 5 possible. These are the data from the project bid as well. His review was discarded. The two reviewers with honored reviews wrote that participation in other projects was very good and gave 5 points out of 5 possible for this type of participation.
The other reviewers, whose reviews were not honored, lied, but not enough. This is why their reviews were discarded (but they got paid for them).
Finally, perhaps the least important thing: The financial plan provides for the first stage 358 850 levs. Of them, 364 000 levs were to be paid cash for salaries (undocumented spending). These are the authors’ calculations. Besides, there are other payments for at least 100 000 levs, possibly documented, such as for catering, i.e. for eating and drinking, in simple language. This project should be canceled because of technical errors, but not of the so-called “Pollsters”.
9. “Balkan British Social Surveys” JSC (BBSS) with co-owners Andrey Raychev, Kancho Stoychev and the famous European marketing agency “TNS Sofres” is also listed at 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd. BBSS won project TK01/0196, led by Prof. Antoniy Todorov. The amount received for the first stage is 240 000 levs. The contract was stopped by the Permanent Scientific Expert Commission for Mathematics of the Science Research Fund. The company must repay some of the money and there is ongoing litigation. There are 4 reviews, which as always a bad sign. Moreover, one of them failed to even collect the minimum points and there should never have been a ranking.
10. “Media Systems” Ltd., owned by Kuncho Stoychev and Andrey Raychev (same address) helped the above project.
The impressive amount of nearly 1 million levs is absorbed by a beneficiary that is not at all random:
11. “Scientific Technology Services – NTO” Ltd., listed at 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd, is currently majority owned by “Central Techno Invest” Ltd. and Kancho Stoychev, Andrey Raychev and Stoyan Chakarov are co-owners. In 2008, NTO has earned 950 000 levs through project RNF01/0125 “Improving the capacity of research organizations and SMEs for the development of cellular and molecular biotechnology and their applications in medicine and health”, led by Prof. Albena Borisova Momchilova. Then the owners were Kancho Stoychev, Zivko Georgiev and Stoyan Chakarov. With this company, as early as 1999, the powerful pollsters have diversified their consultancy services to the fields of “biological and chemical technologies, molecular medicine, gene and cell engineering, ecology and environmental protection”; at least that was what they stated in the court registration. They were helped by some “loyal and reliable” prominent scientists from the former Communist State Security (DS): Prof. Rumen Pankov, husband of Momchilova, Vice President of Sofia University and former full-time DS agent, and Zdravko Lalchev, also exposed in the same list with Rankov, as DS agent and other bosses.
A closer inspection of the ownership of this company reveals the relationship between “The Kanchos” and notorious banker Tsvetan Vassilev!
In 2013, “Central Techno Invest” acquired 67% of the capital of NTO. Behind “Central Techno Invest” is the company “TC – IME Vest”, as an investigation of the site Offnews has shown. In 2008, 100 % of the ownership of this company was held by companies related to Tsvetan Vassilev – “Ken Trade” and “Bromak.” You can read in detail about those companies that also emerge in the acquisition of the media group of Irena Krasteva and Delyan Peevski in a previous investigation of Bivol. Currently “TC – IME Vest” is a co-owned by “Vives” JSC, also connected with Tsvetan Vassilev and “Rema Trade” Ltd., which is owned by Vasil Doychev, co-owner of the winery “Telish”.But back to the topic…
12. Association Institute for Social Values and Structures “Ivan Hadjiiski” with manager Petar -Emil Mitev, listed at 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd, won project TK01/0403, led by Petar-Emil Mitev. The other members of the association were Andrey Raychev, Kancho Stoychev, Zivko Georgiev, and Antony Todorov, how can anything happen without them? The amount was 480 000 levs; of them 98 000 were slated to pay team members and 362 000 levs were for external organization. Why would external organizations conduct “door to door” interviews when they have their own experts? Scientific and political coryphaeus were already involved in this project, such as its leader or B. Popivanov , adviser to presidents and prime ministers, and especially the grandson of Todor Zhivkos’s minister and academician, and another son of academician.
13. “Vidgy Products” LTD, with sole owner and manager Nicola Karaginev, also listed at 23 “James Bourchier” Blvd, has won project TK-09-0380, headed by Prof. V. Mladenov, now Vice President for International Integration and Public Relations of the Technical University in Sofia. However, another formal relationship with “The Kanchos”, except the already notorious address, is not found.
Winning bids for project is a standard scheme – 4 reviews are discarded and are replaced instead by 2 impostors, who are not allowed to write reviews. They were awarded 290 000 levs.
According to the report of the Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA), the Commission for Mathematics and Informatics has given unsatisfactory evaluation of the implementation of the first stage of the project and decided to terminate the contract. There are suspicions of improper spending by the contractors.
The Executive Council of the Fund has decided to cease funding under the contract. At the same time, it was decided that Prof. Hrusanov should draw a super- review, despite the absence of legal opportunity to accept such review and take it into account in the further financing of the contract. I remind that this is an IT project, while Professor Hrusanov is a lawyer, a former adviser to President Parvanov. He is also a member of that same body. Such peer review is in breach of article 29, paragraph 1 of the Law for Encouraging Scientific Research and article 31, paragraph 1 of the same Act. Hardly anyone can have a doubt why this super-review was needed – because, despite being suspended, the project was to get more money, in violation of the rules of the bidding procedure.
It turns out that pollsters, consultants and advertising agents perform intensive scientific work “for the benefit of the people.” They discover new promotional tools, but they are paid by taxpayers. They absorb millions of levs and along with them, many scientists, semi- scientists and other pseudoscientists receive millions. At the same time, real and valuable research projects did not receive funding, and young scientists are leaving Bulgaria.
Professor Horozov explains the reasons for these outrages with an example from quantum physics. In this area of science, measurement is particularly difficult. The objects are so small that light (photons beam), which is directed at them has comparable power and influences them. This is called the observer effect. Therefore, observing elementary particles: protons, electrons, etc. is not done with the same methods as observing a glass, a chair, or a table.
The so-called “polling agencies” that study public opinion act exactly as in the observer effect. The observing, especially the announcement of the result, changes the very result of the public opinion. From here, there is only one step to the idea that observation, respectively the influence, may be prepaid by people in power under the seemly form of investment in science.
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