Wealthy Bulgarian businessman Borislav Dionisiev and controversial lobbyist Anthony Bailey live in apartments in London, property of the Bulgarian state. They pay rents that are several times lower than the rents in the neighborhood.
Dionisiev lives on 24 Queens Gate Garden in an apartment of 109 square meters consisting of three rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen against 1,626 pounds a month, according to the response of the Foreign Ministry received by Bivol upon a request sent under the Access to Public Information Act (APIA). The apartment is leased to Dionisiev’s company “Electroimpex” JSC.
However, Bivol did its own research and established that rental prices in the area range from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds for a two-bedroom home.
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Borislav Dionisiev’s sister, Svetla, lives across from her brother’s apartment. She is an employee of the Bulgarian Embassy and Director of the Bulgarian Cultural Institute. She lives alone on 75 square meters.
Dionisiev is an agent of the Communist secret services – State Security. His codename was “Hristov” and he worked for the State Security Second Main Directorate. He is a member of the notorious business club “Vazrazdane”(Renaissance) and as such he was mentioned in a classified diplomatic cable on organized crime in Bulgaria, prepared by former US Ambassador in Sofia, James Pardew, in 2005. The report is part of the publications of Wikileaks.
Rents are determined by a committee at the Embassy in London
According to the Foreign Ministry’s reply rents were determined by a special committee at the Embassy. The fact that Dionisiev’s sister is an employee of the Embassy raises new questions about possible conflicts of interest.
Anthony Bailey lives in an apartment on 12 Queen’s Gate Garden with a total area of 89 square meters as a representative of Eligo International. He pays the modest 1,218 pounds a month.
In general, except for the staff of the Embassy, these Bulgarian-owned apartments in London are rented to Bulgarian college students to help them during their studies. Many of these students have graduated and are already employed, but continue to occupy homes at discounted prices, despite their increased financial well-being.
The reason to give preferential lower rents to individuals such as Dionisiev and Bailey, who have huge financial resources, is not known, and the Foreign Ministry declined to comment and explain why instead of being rented to poor Bulgarian students, the apartments in Queens Gate Garden are rented to millionaires.
This may be due to some particular merit and contributions to the Bulgarian state, in which case it would not be embarrassing to properly make them public. For example, Anthony Bailey was decorated with the order “Madara Horse Rider” by President Georgi Parvanov in 2007. The privilege of cheap rent of a Bulgarian apartment is not included in the decree for bestowing the award.
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