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The land under and near the vacation home of the Council of Ministers in the Sunny Beach resort has been secretly and in violation of all legal proceedings registered as State property. The decree has been issued by the Governor of Burgas Pavel Marinov and has been illegally entered by the Registry Agency of July 18, 2014.

The land, which Marinov single-handedly registred, is located on the waterfront in the southern part of Sunny Beach. In reality, it is a big park near the unique dunes and throughout the conglomerate of Nessebar Bay this is the last large green area next to the beach still without construction. Real estate experts assess the value of the 42 decares at cosmic amounts of nearly 20 million euro. The land plots are listed under numbers 51500.505.240 51500.505.232 and the total area is 42.419 square meters.

Until now, the land was included in the assets of the State-owned Sunny Beach JSC, which protected it from privatizations “in the dark”. The joint stock company has a proportion of 75:25 State (through the Ministry of Economy and Energy) and private capital. After being registered as State-owned, however, the terrain can be expressly privatized under the scheme “Dunes Gate” or “South Stream”. Actually, there is no reason at all for adjacent areas to be speedily nationalized and assets of “Sunny Beach” JSC to be unlawfully appropriated.

Reaction of the President’s Office and the Prosecution

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The Deputy Prime Minister in the caretaker government and Minister of Regional Development, Ekaterina Zaharieva, was shocked after she received an inquiry from Bivol, asking whether she was aware of the deal with the terrain around the vacation home of the Council of Ministers in Sunny Beach. Zaharieva promised to urgently examine the case, but said that even if a decree has been issued by Pavel Marinov, there is no way to change the ownership of the land. So far we have no information as to whether the Deputy PM has ordered a probe and what is its result.

However, such probe has been requested by the Burgas Prosecutor’s Office. Burgas prosecutor, Andrey Chervenyakov, has issued an opinion on the signal of wrongdoing by the Executive Director of “Sunny Beach” JSC, Zlatko Dimitrov. On August 22, 2014, Chervenyakov has made a formal proposal to the Main Inspectorate of the Council of Ministers, insisting on a prosecution probe in the actions of the Governor of Burgas. In addition, Chervenyakov has notified the Council of Ministers that the Burgas Regional Prosecutor’s Office has ordered a respective probe against Marinov.

Pavel Marinov became infamous after Bivol revealed (see HERE) that he had signed false declarations of conflict of interest in his capacity of lawmaker and civil servant. Marinov had concealed ownership and participation in offshore companies, where he was a partner with senior Russian functionaries. The most prominent among them is the Head of the Russian Military Space Program – Sergei Boev. Marinov is investigated by the Burgas Prosecutor’s Office for document forgery. Separately, the mere fact that he is in direct contact with senior officials from the Ministry of Defense of Russia, makes him incompatible with the Office of Regional Governor in a country member of NATO. Several complaints of corruption and servicing corporate interests have been filed against Pavel Marinov and his actions as Regional Governor of Burgas immediately after his inauguration. They prosecution is working on them as well. In addition, Marinov is prosecuted for his orders and there are legal sanctions over their illegality.

Who wants to swallow the “golden” land in Sunny Beach?

“Longings” for the most valuable areas of the resort, next to the coast, on which a park has been built, date from a while back. In 2012 (letter ref. N ° 02.13-71 05.07.2012), then Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has proposed to remove the terrain from the capital of Sunny Beach JSC. Borisov has asked for the land to be “given” to the Council of Ministers under the State Property Act.

“Sunny Beach” JSC, however, has not agreed with the above move. The pressure on the government does not stop. The race to “gobble” the appetizing plot was joined by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the party largely representing the Turkish minority – Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). This continuity suggests that backstage interests were equally strong and influential during the term in office of the centrist Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB) and the next one of the newest Three-Party Coalition, led by former BSP Chairman, Sergei Stanishev. In April 2014, Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski created an interagency working group (Order N ° P-87 of April 24, 2014) to examine the issue of ownership of the properties. It concluded that conditions of Article 14 of the Local Taxes Act were non-existent in this case as to allow the Governor to list the terrain as State property.

The working group decided on June 9, 2014 that the Ministry of Economy and Energy should put for discussion at the General Assembly of Shareholders of “Sunny Beach” JSC the issue of capital reduction by excluding the terrains and consideration of options for compensation.

Although there is currently no such decision of the General Assembly, Regional Governor Pavel Marinov singe-handedly listed the land as State property in, possibly, the last days of his term in office without any documentary and legal basis. The question is how he was motivated to commit such outrage? The management of “Sunny Beach” JSC found out very informally and by chance that the company is deprived of a significant portion of its property and in breach of the law. CEO Dimitrov has notified all possible institutions – the Registry Agency, the Cadaster, the Mayor of Nessebar, caretaker Minister Shtonov and even the Prosecutor’s Office to counter this nationalization carried out by the State representative in Burgas in exceeding his official rights.

In a typical communist manner

Since “Sunny Beach” is a public company within the meaning of the Public Offering of Securities Act, all activities with its assets must comply with the terms of this Act and the Trade Act, argues the management in the complaint to District Prosecutor’s Office in Burgas. The zoning of the land as State property by Pavel Marinov violates several laws and has caused property damage to “Sunny Beach” JSC, the complaint to the prosecution further underscores.

Property rights of minority private shareholders/partners in the joint stock company have been categorically violated. “Sunny Beach” was particularly vehemently attacked by red (Socialist – editor’s note) activists immediately after Oresharski came to power as they tried to replace the management of the company with loyal party cadres. Because of illegitimate actions, however, the Court stopped permanently the entry in the Board of Directors of incompetent partisan people.

Owners of the resort have complained that they were pressured to pay bribes to new directors, although they were never recognized and were not formally entered by the Court.

Perhaps the failure to put through political assault a hand on the real assets of “Sunny Beach” JSC, such as the valuable property of the Council of Ministers, has forced the Regional Governor from BSP to act “head first” and use his official position, despite the risk, to prepare the ground for the privatization of the golden plot.

The fact that the Burgas Regional Governor enjoyed a free company car from the fleet of “Sunny Beach” JSC, is very indicative of his modus operandi. A super-model “Volkswagen Phaeton”, packed with all the extras, drove the Governor daily. Two days ago, the Executive Director of “Sunny Beach”, Zlatko Dimitrov, requested the car back over an audit of assets and now the luxury vehicle is in its parking spot and not available to the almighty public servant.

The fate of the 42 decares in the most expensive part of the resort, registered as State property, is unclear. It is also not clear why the land that is in the company’s assets for over 15 years, as it manages the entire infrastructure of the resort, was suddenly seized by the State. Officially voiced intentions are for it to be connected to the vacation home of the Council of Ministers. But who is interested in blatantly breaching the law for this infamous nationalization when there is political interregnum? Is this the most important issue in the State that must be resolved in times of a banking crisis and before snap elections? In fact, history shows that precisely in troubled times, the most successful backroom maneuvers to privatize State assets at depressed prices are being performed, and these assets are acquired by oligarchs close to the power or their proxies.

So far, all institutions remain silent about the case. The fact is that the government of caretaker Prime Minister, Georgi Bliznashki, already replaced two regional governors, but the prominent BSP activist in Burgas, Pavel Marinov, remains untouchable despite proven compromising circumstances. This is a meaningful fact revealing vicious continuity and heavy corruption dependencies in the higher echelons of power.

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