Name of Bulgarian Prosecutor General ‘Vanishes’ from Scandalous Real Estate Deal

by Екип на Биволъ

Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov and his wife Meglena Tsatsarova are now untraceable in the batch of property entries of the company Kalisto Mati. Seven years ago, Bivol revealed that in 2007 the company had donated an apartment to Tsatsarov. At that time, he was the most influential judge in the second largest city of Plovdiv and President of the District Court. Due to the scandal of the “gift” and the candidacy of Judge Sotir Tsatsarov for Prosecutor General of Bulgaria, at the end of 2012, the Property Register was retroactively upgraded and the apartment deal was altered to “purchase and sale”. Just over the weekend, the public registry was down and this property in downtown Plovdiv simply disappeared… This is what we noticed immediately after the sudden shutdown of the Property Register, in the midst of the #ApartmentGate scandals. Apart from the disappearance of Tsatsarov and his wife, the company Kalisto Mati also vanished from the property entries of Sotir Tsatsarov and Meglena Tsatsarova for this particular deal. Bivol’s current check in the Property Register was driven by its shutdown on Friday evening (May 17, 2019) for more than 36 hours.

The information on the deal was part of a large-scale investigation by Bivol into Tsatsarov property deals and assets before he was elected Prosecutor General in November 2012. Precisely the “gift” caused the unprecedented tempering with the Property Register, while Tsatsarov appeared on all mainstream media to explain that his notary deed had been erroneous. He then brandished some papers but did not show the media the authentic documents from his property deals. These explanations strongly resemble the current ones in connection with the scandalous acquisitions of apartments and real estate. There is no chance right now to find this property deal through ordinary searches in the entries of individuals and legal entities unless one knows specifically what to look for in the archives!

Chronology after Bivol’s 2012 revelations

At the time, Tsatsarov gave the following explanation in a live TV broadcast:

I am familiar with the publication. According to this publication, a large construction company has gifted me, i.e. my family has been gifted – my wife and me. In this publication, there are a few things that are true and one definitely untrue thing. It is true that there is such a deal. It is true that the deal is with such parties. The number of the notary deed, its chapter, the date on which the deal was concluded, the description of the property – an apartment in Plovdiv of 55 square meters, or 55.2 – it does not matter, are absolutely true. So far, all this is true. What is not true is that this is a gift. The deal is a purchase at a very real price. I have papers, of course, and I will show them this afternoon. I will show them because I think that this bubble is been blown up so much that it already borders defamation.

Host: Why is it so?

Sotir Tsatsarov: Do you understand? Now, I am sure that after the publication I am going to be accused of entering in the cover of darkness into the registrar’s archive and replacing the gift notary deed with a purchase notary deed. No, I have not received a gift from a construction company. No, there is no unexplainable generosity. No, I have not traded influence. On the contrary. We have bought an apartment. However, presenting a purchase notary deed with identical data as a gift one is not accidental…

Sotir Tsatsarov did not show the documents as he promised. Just overnight, “in the cover darkness”, the entry was changed from “gift” to “purchase and sale.” Tsatsarov claimed that this had happened without his intervention. However, if an ordinary citizen wishes to rectify such a document in the Registry Agency, the chances for registrars and administrators to move with such a record-breaking speed are zero.

Bivol carried out a subsequent check in the Property Register immediately after Tsatsarov’s announcement that he had requested a correction of the data. Indeed, the entry in his batch had been changed from “gift” to “purchase and sale,” but not in the batch of the construction company-donor. The entry for the deal, which continued to be “gift”, was also documented in a video. Upon its release, a second change was made to the Register and the “gift” trail completely disappeared from the deal.

However, afterward, the Register has been tampered with once again and the subject is back on the agenda, because there is no logic to accidentally or erroneously delete the names of the sellers and buyers, so that Tsatsarov’s apartment cannot be found in Kalisto Mati’s company entries and Kalisto Mati cannot be found in Tsatsarov’s entries.

The Chief Prosecutor, however, has reasons to eliminate public knowledge about his long-term property relationship with this company, owned by a person who is a partner of interesting figures from the underground, according to Bivol’s check.

Kalisto Mati is a partner in Plovdiv with former “Multigroup” Board Member

The company Kalisto Mati belongs to Georgi Marinov Nankov. He participates in many companies, one of which is “P V Power”, where he is a partner with Angel Vassilev Stefanov. Stefanov is considered one of the most trusted people of the murdered boss of “Multigroup”, Iliya Pavlov, and his exclusive representative in Plovdiv.

As early as 1992, Angel Stefanov was entered as a Member of the Board of “Multigroup Bulgaria”, according to the State Gazette in the Daxy system. In 1997, he became Chairman of the Board of “Multigroup Plovdiv”.

At the beginning of 2019, Georgi Nankov became a partner with attorney Yordan Iliev Dzhermanski in the company “KM and DG”. Dzhermanski is a former candidate for mayor of Plovdiv, exposed of property fraud and was hurt in a blast attack in 2003 against his paint shop.

Long-lasting property relations with Tsatsarov and his wife and unrealistic prices

The vanished “gift”, which Tsatsarov explained as an entry mistake is for an apartment of nearly 56 square meters in the very downtown Plovdiv on 16, “Aleko Konstantinov” Street. The apartment has a basement in a building with a yard of 586 square meters. Even assuming that in the course of five years Tsatsarov had not known about the mistake, the price of the property is more than low. The declared property price is BGN 41,307, which makes about EUR 378 per square meter. The price is at least twice lower than the 2007 market price of housing in this part of the city.

However, the property deals of the Tsatsarov family with Kalisto Mati are not limited to the “gift-purchase”. A few months later, on May 17, 2007, Meglena Tsatsarova acquired a studio of 85 square meters on 24 “Opalchenska” Street in Plovdiv, along with a basement and 1/5 ownership of the land under and around the building for only BGN 470 per square meter. At the same time, properties in downtown Plovdiv cost on average about 2.5 times more and residential property could not be bought below BGN 1,200, according to statistics by a popular real estate site. The difference is more than drastic. Moreover, Sotir Tsatsarov’s name does not appear in this deal.

After the “gift” scandal, Tsatsarov has continued his business dealings with Kalisto Mati. This has been done through its subsidiary “M Kalisto Mati”, which is engaged in serious construction of residential buildings in the capital Sofia.

In 2010, Sotir Tsatsarov personally bought from “M Kalisto Mati” an apartment of 55 square meters and a garage of 17 square meters in a new building in Sofia’s “Malinova Dolina” district. The price of BGN 83,000 corresponds to the market one at that time. Tsatsarov’s daughter Diana acquired an apartment in a neighboring building built by “M Kalisto Mati”. She also paid the market price of BGN 156,466 for 102 square meters. Still, the enduring property relationships and deals of Tsatsarov with this particular company and their number cannot remain unnoticed.

Deals similar to “ApartmentGate”

Again in 2012, Tsatsarov promised to provide receipts of paid taxes for another scandalous deal of his wife but did not, Bivol further revealed seven years ago. As evidenced by court documents, Meglena Tsatsarova, a notary, has bought two orchards for BGN 119,096 (EUR 60,900) per property. However, the notary deed lists a price 120 times lower than the real one – BGN 1,000 per property.

The story gained publicity because, because of litigation over the property. Tsatsarova filed a lawsuit against the sellers to get back her money – a total of EUR 121,800. The court’s grounds clearly set out two reasons to include a fictitious amount – payment of lower fees and the desire of the seller to conceal the real price.

Tsatsarov’s explanation emphasized on the second reason as a “normal practice” because the seller so insisted. On this occasion, attorney Ekimdzhiev made the following comment before the Plovdiv site “Pod Tepeto”:

“The explanation given to the question, “Why has this fictitious price been written?” was “That’s what the seller wanted.” Well, with the same logic, someone arguing for example about drug trafficking, he can say: “Well, we met the dealer on the street and he offered to buy from him drugs or illegal weapons.” Would this be an exonerating or mitigating circumstance? Precisely people like him, as legal representatives, as public figures, must insist on compliance with the law.”

Now Sotir Tsatsarov has to probe the cheap property deals of officials that led to a number of resignations over the “ApartmentGate” scandal. In essence, we are talking about the same crimes – declaring untrue data and tax evasion, which Tsatsarov committed together with his wife in 2007. Here is the place to emphasize that such acquisition of housing or real estate at unrealistically low prices are also made for the purpose of money laundering and concealment of illegally acquired income whose origin is difficult to prove. Despite the scandalous evidence published by Bivol, the then Supreme Judicial Council seamlessly elected Sotir Tsatsarov for Prosecutor General after unprecedented pressure from the government, and President Rossen Plevneliev signed the decree for his appointment without objection.

To be continued…

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