The Regional Governor of Burgas is charged with abuse of power over suspicions he has been using his official position in favor of private interests. District Prosecutor Angel Georgiev has launched pre-trial criminal proceedings against Pavel Marinov. The Regional Governor is charged with malfeasance in office under Article 282, Paragraph 2 in connection with Paragraph 1 of the Penal Code for unlawful interference in a dispute between two entities leading to the illegal appropriation of 42 decares in the northern industrial zone of Burgas. The Court has ruled in the case on several occasions. Pavel Marinov, however, has placed himself above the law by failing to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court, making the intertwining of his political and private interests even more obvious. The “business police” at the Regional Directorate of the Interior Ministry in Burgas have conducted a preliminary probe in the case. The District Prosecutor’s Office believes that there are grounds to charge Pavel Marinov with abuse of office.
The criminal proceedings against Marinov started after a signal to the prosecution by the company “Central Park Burgas” LTD. The company has purchased the former State warehouse of “Chernomorie” (Black Sea Coast) in the Northern Industrial Zone of Burgas, popular in the city under the name “Yaytsekop” (Egg Cooperative) and is the real owner of the land. The scandal broke when the company decided to donate to the municipality a large land plot it owned in order to facilitate the realization of one of the largest and most socially significant infrastructure projects – the creation of a new road linking the complex “Slavejkov” with the city’s downtown. Just then, under the pressure of the company “Buted”, which is close to the structures of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) in Burgas, Governor Pavel Marinov stopped this intention with an administrative act. Ignoring all laws, he annulled the municipal property documents, canceling two of the acts of his predecessor Konstantin Grebenarov. Despite his claims to be protecting public interest, the Governor annulled in full the former State involvement in the commercial enterprise.
The gross disregard for the law and for public interest generates suspicion that as a former employee of the Ministry of Economy Marinov was directly involved in the privatization of “Buted”. According to the prosecution, the annulment order has not been drawn by experts in the Regional Administration, but by outside lawyers, probably close to “Buted”; has not been coordinated in committees and has not been even consulted with the Administration’s legal counsel.
The ownership of the property is unquestionably recognized by a decision of the Supreme Court of Cassations – №952 / March 3, 2010 The buildings, however, are illegally managed and appropriated by “Buted”. Later, Pavel Marinov has used a distorted citing this decision to justify his unlawful act.
Litigation over the ownership has passed through all stages. On February 21, 2014, the Administrative Court in Burgas revoked the order of Pavel Marinov. It ruled that it was an unlawful individual act carried out on the initiative of a private company having interest in it, without complying with the laws and the administrative proceedings with all accompanying actions. Moreover, the Court has already ruled in this dispute, yet the Regional Governor issued an order that contradicted the Court rule № 2250 / April 11, 2013.
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On May 27, 2014, after appealing the latest decision of the Administrative Court in Burgas, the Supreme Administrative Court put an “end” to the dispute:
“Rule №9016 of the Supreme Court upholds rule № 251 from February 21, 2014 of the Administrative Court in Burgas in administrative case №2110 2013.
It sentences the Regional Administration in Burgas to pay to “Central Park Burgas” Ltd. in the city of Burgas the sum of 600 (six) levs representing the costs of the cassation instance.”
The Regional Governor refused to implement the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court.
Now the prosecution takes over law enforcement. The investigating authorities are given a two-month deadline. The police have already questioned officials from the Regional Administration; they are to testify before a judge next. At this stage, the goal of the investigators is to establish how the order excluding the property from the State registry has ended in the Administration; were there coordination procedures and did it serve someone’s interest.
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