The old border army barrack building in the village of Rezovo on the Black Sea shore across from Turkey is still State-owned. The land under it has dubiously become property of Yordan Tsonev, an influent lawmaker from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS, mostly representing the country’s Muslim minority) and his wife Proletina. If the new general development plan of the Tsarevo municipality is adopted, Tsonev will be able to build on the waterfront line.

However, other public figures are not so lucky. The properties of businessman Ivo Prokopiev, violinist Mincho Minchev and conductor Emil Tabakov keep their farmland status and there will be no construction on them. The father of Lukoil Bulgaria’s all-powerful boss Valentin Zlatev will not be able to build a vacation village on 17 decares off the coast, nor will be the fugitive banker Veska Medjidieva. However, singer, Beloslava, who has a large plot that is a bit more inland, will be allowed to build.

This becomes evident from a research by Bivol into the properties located on the waterfront from Tsarevo to Rezovo. The project titled “Waterfront” examines the ownership of sites within the borders of the Strandja Nature Park. They have the status of farmlands and are threatened by concrete construction. The start of this research has been funded by Bivol’s readers and the idea is to cover the entire coastline over time.

The total area of the studied properties exceeds 2,000 decares and includes the last undeveloped terrains bordering the sea – a scarce and expensive commodity all over the world, especially if it falls within construction boundaries. The data from the Cadaster for nearly 300 properties in the lands of the towns of Tsarevo and Ahtopol and the villages of Varvara, Sinemorets and Rezovo can now be viewed online.

About 1,300 decares of the studied properties are privately owned and 270 decares have the status of municipal private property. This means that the land can be sold right away with a decision of the municipal council in Tsarevo. 317 decares are municipal public property and another 65 are managed by the municipality. For some of the sites, the owner is not known. The research excludes property from the State forest fund and the waterfront properties in the Tsarevo municipality to the north of the Strandja Park, where outrages in the new general development plan can also be observed, for example, near “Coral” beach, where there are dunes.

Among the studied properties are also those that have been seized through an illegal and fraudulent scheme and have ended into companies of the scandalous architect Kalin Tiholov and others close to Yordan Tsonev. Tiholov is the author of the previous general development plan of the Municipality of Tsarevo and had slated his own properties for future development. They are located near the site where the illegal holiday village “Golden Pearl” popped up years ago. However, the new general development plan has spared all terrains from the border of the Park to the village of Varvara and from Varvara to the campsite “Dolphin”, north of Ahtopol. Tiholov will not be able to build, but the danger of a new “Golden Pearl” remains because the terrain under the former illegal construction site is still urbanized.

 

The terrain indicated with an arrow is municipal property and is within the urban boundaries, according to the new general development plan

The coast between Ahtopol and the mouth of the river Veleka, a place known as Airodi, where Binka, the ex-wife of politician Solomon Passy and film director Evgeniy Mihaylov have properties, is also spared. These lands will remain farmland if the new general development plan is adopted.

On the other hand, in Sinemorets, the splendid view to the mouth of Veleka, opening from the promenade and bar “Ship”, will be no more. A large municipal terrain is intended to be included in the urbanized area, which will exacerbate the craving of the municipality to fill its coffers by dividing it into smaller plots and selling it, as has often happened in the past. The residents of Sinemorets protested against this as they do not want their village to become a new Lozenetz.

All terrains to the east of the village to the “Butamyata” beach, which are already partially built under a detailed general development plan, are slated to become a villa zone. Here also fall the lands that had been seized under a criminal scheme for which former Prosecutor General Boris Velchev personally ordered an investigation because of a “huge legal and public interest” and “public significance”. This is about the

Appropriation of 700 decares through fraud

Four years ago, Bivol revealed in an investigation that the best nooks and terrains on the Southern Black Sea coast had been stolen through fraud. Milcho Kiriyakov, Yordan Tsonev’s best man, is a major protagonist in these fraudulent dealings. The whole criminal scheme was unraveled by the prosecutor’s office but remained without punishment because of expired (or purposely incited) limitation. The scale of the appropriated property is truly shocking and exceeds 700 decares of land just off the coast of Strandja Park.

The scheme had been spun by lawyers from the coastal city of Burgas and they had been established by the prosecutor’s office. In brief, things look like this. The lawyers had drawn up to themselves powers of attorney from landowners in the Tsarevo municipality. The names of the people had been taken from the land property registers. Twenty-one municipal property cases had been filed in the municipality on behalf of these owners. The municipality was then ruled by the infamous tandem of Mayor Petko Arnaudov from the Bulgarian Socialist Party and attorney Evegeniy Mosinov.

These lawyers had won property ownership cases on behalf of the unsuspecting people and strawmen then had sold the land with the same fake powers of attorney to companies and individuals who are directly or indirectly close to architect Kalin Tiholov and Yordan Tsonev. Some of the signatories of the powers of attorney have even stated that they have not known and have never met the lawyers in question.

At the same time, the land property registers had been forged as well. The perpetrators have not been found. The prosecutor’s office has only identified the lawyers who have produced the fake powers of attorney on behalf of heirs and have filed cases for restitution of lands, also on their behalf. These are Nencho Nedyalkov Dragnev, Diana Dimitrova Krasteva, Svetla Georgieva Kamenova, Kremena Nedkova Tabakova and Kamen Kolev Kraychev from the Burgas Bar Association.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the lands were valued at hundreds of millions of euros. However, due to the expiry of the statute of limitations, the prosecutor’s office in the city of Sliven has suspended the pre-trial proceedings against the Burgas lawyers despite proof of them having forged signatures on administrative documents.

It is clear from the prosecutor’s office decree that it had not investigated at all on behalf of whose interests these lawyers had acted, despite that being evident from the following land deals, conducted as soon as the ownerships had been restituted – in the interests of Kiriyakov, Tiholov and Tsonev. To date, it is still unclear what happened to the investigation into a crime under Art. 308 of the Penal Code for the falsification of land registers, which are official State documents.

One of the people who has participated in the transfer scheme is the Burgas businessman Yordan Yorgovski. It has been proven that 14 decares in Sinemorets and 4.7 decares in Rezovo have been restituted to local residents P. V. R, N. V. D. and B.K.H. with false powers of attorney. The decision of the Land Recovery Commission was entered on March 10, 2006. On the very same day, the properties that are on the waterfront line were “sold out” without these locals having any idea that these lands had been restored to them. The buyer was Yordan Yorgovski.

It was not until 2009 that the real owners discovered what had happened and filed lawsuits to undo the deal. But the properties have already been resold with great profits to third parties. After a few years of courtroom drama, P. V. R, N. V. D. and B.K.H. have concluded agreements and have withdrawn their claim. Now, the new general development plan allocates the properties in Sinemorets for construction, and those in Rezovo remain farmlands.

Yorgovski also emerges in another scandalous deal, proving his closeness to the DPS lawmaker Yordan Tsonev.

In 2006, Proletina Tsoneva has bought from her best man Milcho Kiriyakov a property of 647 square meters on the waterfront line in Rezovo for just BGN 2,800. Kiriyakov had bought it at the deeply discounted price of BGN 1,000. Yordan Yorgovski had been the seller.

 

The purpose of this property exercise is visible on the cadastral map. The former State property falls “unpleasantly” into another property of 3 decares, which is also owned by Proletina and Yordan Tsonevi. This property has been sold to them by architect Kalin Tiholov.

But how did Yorgovski acquire the terrain that obstructs Tsonevi and on which the old army border barrack was built? It turns out that it was State-owned, but in 2005 the Regional Governor of Burgas Ivan Vitanov, from the now-extinct National Movement for Stability and Growth, has decided to sell it. And since selling the property directly to a key politician from the then-ruling coalition partner DPS, is too obvious, the local government has signed a sale contract with Yordan Yorgovski for BGN 20,000.

Eventually, if the new general development plan of the Tsarevo Municipality is adopted in this form, Tsonev’s family will be able to build, but it will first have to deal with the old army border barrack. It seems something has prevented it from being sold together with the terrain, and the building, which is slowly becoming a ruin, is still State property.

Government commits outright crimes to sell the public interest

The whole picture with the current construction invasion on the coast south of Tsarevo exposes the dirty motif behind the unlawful removal of Stefan Zlatarov from the post of long-time director of the Strandja Natural Park, since its inception in 1995. He has been dismissed over fictitious allegations of raising the salaries of several of his inspectors by BGN 50 in order for them not to quit their jobs. He is known as a defiant opponent of legal breaches on the territory of the park and a person not tempted by corruption and political affairs. It was precisely Stefan Zlatarov who started and completed the battle to have “Golden Pearl” declared illegal construction and subsequently demolish it.

He has also hurt the interests of the oligarchy by shedding light on the outright criminal sales of hundreds of decares of the Park’s territory to private individuals under the orders of a number of DPS agriculture ministers. Therefore, Zlatarov was dismissed immediately after the Socialist-endorsed government of Plamen Oresharski came into power and was reinstated later. Now, he is again inconvenient to the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) as he is likely to obstruct the adoption of the new general development plan. A DPS “puppet” without any competences in the protected areas has been appointed to his post. Zlatarov is appealing his dismissal and has all the chances of winning the case.

It is worth mentioning that since 2009 to date, all GERB governments of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov have stubbornly refused to accept the mandatory Strandja Park Management Plan despite the rule of the Supreme Administrative Court mandating them to do so. If accepted, this plan will once and for all end the lawlessness with the felling and building on the territory of the Park. The non-observance of the law and the court decision are a clear indication of the principles and interests that have been consistently, comprehensively and collectively promoted by all Bulgarian governments over the years.

 

 

 

 

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