Average property prices in Lozenets for January 2005, according to deals announced on the site Imot.bg
On February 23, 2004, at a heated meeting, the Sofia Municipal Council adopted a report of the ad-hoc commission, probing the activities of municipal companies and trade associations with municipal participation, the scandalous Sofia Properties company among them. Part of the report examines the transactions with the subsidiary “Zavodproekt” LTD. The following is written in black and white in the report:
“In the list of transactions of “Sofia Properties,” there are swaps whose appropriateness can be disputed. Examples include swaps with the subsidiary “Zavodproekt” LT in the 2002-2003 period.”
The real and concrete real estate assets, transferred from “Sofia Properties” to “Zavodproekt” are also listed there – 35 properties and apartments against three floors of an office building on 12 “Gurko” street.
“At this stage, the Commission has no answer to the question what was the appropriateness of such transfers. In reality, this was a transfer of assets of “Sofia Properties” to its subsidiary. The Commission did not obtain information on the future destiny of these apartments, stores and the other properties that have become assets of “Zavodproekt” LTD,” is written in the report.
At the same meeting, the Sofia Municipal Council decided to create a new company “Investment Company – Sofia” JSC to add municipal property to its capitalization.
Bivol failed to establish the destiny of two apartments from the listed 35. One year after the report of the Commission, on March 18, 2005, “Sofia Properties” and “Zavodproekt” swapped three apartments and three garages, where two of these three apartments were among the ones transferred to “Zavodproekt” earlier (marked with a star).
– * Apartment on 25 “N. Y. Vaptsarov” street with an area of 128.32 m2 http://goo.gl/maps/7FDJ9
– * Apartment on 25 “N.Y. Vaptsarov” street with an area of 130.99 m2 http://goo.gl/maps/7FDJ9
– Apartment on 26 “Elemag” street with an area of 161.70 m2
– Garage on 26 “Elemag” street with an area of 19.76 m2
– Garage on 26 “Elemag” street with an area of 19.76 m2
– Garage on 12 “Banat” street with an area of 28.28 m2
All these properties changed ownership against two thirds in shares in a land plot with an area of 540 m2 in Lozenets, whose owners were Georgi Georgiev, husband of the judge from the Supreme Administrative Court, Vesselina Teneva, Georgiev’s brother Nikola and his sister Alexandra. So, each of them received an apartment and garage against their share in the Lozenets plot.
Swaps with Sofia Properties – twofold more profitable than market prices
The three co-owners possessed two thirds of this property (360 m2) as early as 2001, according to an entry in the property registry from September 17, 2001. Data in the registry does not show if this property was inherited or acquired. At that time, the cost of the land was estimated at the modest amount of 7594 levs; the remaining third was owned by the municipality. In February 2004, the cost of this third was estimated to be 32 600 levs and it has been transferred to the capital of “Investment Company – Sofia.”
Only one year later, the municipal company decided that the plot, owned by brothers and sister Georgievi, was worth ten times more, and deserved to be exchanged for three apartments and three garages with a total area of 488 m2. The cost of the latter was calculated precisely and was aligned with the market price at the time – about 800 euros per square meter or 792 471.25 levs, duly declared as material interest before the Registry Agency.
References from specialized real estate websites in Sofia show that at the time, land transactions in Lozenets have been settled at prices from 500 to 700 euros. This means that the swap ended up being almost twice more profitable for the new owners of the three apartments and garages than if they were to sell their property on the free market as at that time they would have hardly received more than 1 100 per square meter.
The other side of the coin is that the municipal company “Sofia Properties” has given away the three apartments and garages at a cost that is disadvantageous to the taxpayer.
Abnormal variations in the prices of municipal properties were investigated as early as 2004 by the then spokesman of the group of municipal councilors from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Anton Kutev. His research revealed that “some properties are being sold at a price that is significantly lower than their appraised tax value, while in other cases the price was 20 times higher,” Capital weekly wrote in its issue from February 28, 2004.
The swaps, involving the husband of the judge from the Supreme Administrative Court, Vesselina Teneva, settled in early 2005, show that the corrupt practice to understate or overstate the value of properties was not terminated after Sofia Municipal Council decided to instate some order a year earlier.
Bivol revealed earlier that judge Vesselina Teneva from the Supreme Administrative Court, nominated by BSP and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, for Chief Judicial Inspector and her husband Georgi Georgiev have had strange dealings with the judge’s elderly mother Mariyka Teneva. In 2004-2005, 80 year old Mariyka Teneva bought from them two apartments in Sofia and then donated them back to the couple. The elderly lady purchased an apartment in the center of Burgas in 2007 for only 17 000 levs, which she also donated to her daughter. The same year, she acquired a land plot in Burgas’ villa suburb of Rosenets, and also donated it to judge Teneva. If one adds the apartments from Georgi Georgiev’s swaps in 2005, it appears that in about three years, the family has purchased massive residential space in Sofia and by the sea.
Until now, the origin of the funds for the purchases-donations from the elderly mother remains unclear, while judge Teneva has not commented on the transactions. She is not answering her phone for the media.
On Sunday, DPS Member of the Parliament, Cetin Kazak, one of the people nominating her, commented that “he was not disturbed” by these transactions and believed that Vesselina Teneva will refute all suspicions around the real estate acquisitions of the family.
Other cases of magistrates with plenty of properties, investigated by Bivol, include Georgi Kolev, head of the Supreme Administrative Court, Vladimira Yaneva, head of the Sofia City Court, Veneta Markovska, candidate to become member of the Constitutional Court, and Sotir Tsatsarov, Chief Prosecutor.
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