UniCredit Grants Big Loan to Construction Company, Ex-CEO Acquires Cheap Upscale Apartment

The former Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of UniCredit Bulbank Levon Hampartzoumian also acquired a cheap apartment from the company Arteks in the “Videlina” (Dawn) building on “Tintyava” Street in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. It happened on June 15, 2018, when Hampartzoumian was still at the helm of the Bank. On the same day, an Arteks-related company received a loan of BGN 28 million from UniCredit Bulbank.

Hampartzoumian’s apartment has an area of 203.7 square meters and there is an adjoining 40.82 square meters terrace, as well as a 38.94 square meters green terrace and two garages. The total area of the property is 326 square meters and the price paid is BGN 420,000, which makes an average of about 660 EUR per square meter.
The deal was sealed on June 15, 2018, and on the same day, but a little earlier, a loan in the amount of BGN 28,359,535 granted by UniCredit Bulbank to the company Kron 21 had been entered. It is a mortgage for a land plot for construction of 9,911 square meters on “G.M. Dimitrov” boulevard in the “Dianabath” district. A month later, Kron 21 merged into Arteks Engineering.

UniCredit Bulbank press office responded tersely to our inquiry as to whether there could be a conflict of interest of the CEO and what have been the terms of the above-mentioned loan with the following: “The Bank does not provide public information on current, past and potential clients.”

A loan was granted to an Arteks-related company on the same day when Hampartzoumian bought a cheap apartment from Arteks

The topic of UniCredit Bulbank’s loan granting is a thorny one. A 2010 report by the Supervision at the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB – the central bank) noted that “manual data manipulation” of loans, loan concentration and other risks had been identified. At the beginning of 2017, UniCredit sold to the Norwegian debt collection company DCA bad loans from its Bulgarian structure in the amount of EUR 93 million (here), in November of that year – another EUR 84 million, and in late September 2018 – another EUR 249 million (here) or a total of about EUR 430 million for the last two years!

According to insider sources from banking circles, these serious for the Bulgarian market losses, have played a decisive role in the removal of Levon Hampartzoumian from his long-term posts at UniCredit Bulbank.

Cheap apartments for influential people

The “ApartmentGate” scandal began with a publication of Free Europe from Tuesday, March 19, which announced that Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Deputy Chairman of the ruling party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), leader of GERB’s parliamentary group and former Interior Minister has acquired a luxury apartment with a private VIP elevator and a separate garage for two cars at the price of EUR 627 per square meter, which is much lower than the market one. The market prices for housing in this Sofia neighborhood start at EUR 2,600 per square meter, while the condominium building where Tsvetanov’s apartment is located is among the most exclusive in the capital.

According to details, revealed by Free Europe, this acquisition happened through a swap where Tsvetanov exchanged two apartments for the one in the “Arteks” building. On the same day – June 12, 2018, the two apartments were resold by Arteks to the former GERB IT expert and member of GERB’s election campaign management, Simeon Velkov.

At the same time, an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Fund brought to light similar deals carried out by Justice Minister and former Speaker of Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva and to the lawmaker and former Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, both also from GERB. According to the Anti-Corruption Fund, the difference between the market price and the price paid by the politicians is up to four times.

Tsvetan Tsvetanov commented that there was nothing illegal in his deal, while Tsetska Tsacheva explained that she had bought the apartment “off-plan” and therefore had managed to obtain such a low price.

A representative of the construction company Arteks commented on Wednesday, March 20 that Tsvetanov had benefited from the special preferential price not because of his social status but because he had appreciated the protective energy of the building provided by the embedded in it “Psalm 91”.

It remains unknown what had been the reason for the preferential price offered to Tsacheva and Rashidov. But, as can be seen from Hampartzoumian’s case, there is obviously a correlation between the granted loan and the ridiculously low price he has paid for his apartment.

At what prices does really Arteks sell?

In the same building “Videlina”, where the apartment of Levon Hampartzoumian is located, there is an offer for an apartment of 75 square meters with a garage of 24 square meters at a price of EUR 220,000 or three times more than what he had paid.

Bivol also obtained information about the prices at which apartments are offered off-plan in the buildings constructed by Arteks. For example, in the “Vselena” (Universe) building, where Tsetska Tsacheva’s apartment is located, there are no prices of EUR 600-700 per square meter.

Here is what Arteks offers since 2017 when “Vselena” was still in the excavation stage, when, according to Tsacheva, it had been possible to negotiate a low price:

VSELENA welcomes you at a place where your highest expectations from a home are met. It is a zone of beauty, tranquility and security, combined with the advantages of one of the most well-connected places in the capital. The “East” district had been created by the energy of the most visionary citizens of Sofia and continues to be the choice of those who think in perspective. Situated on 18-20 “Yuri Gagarin” Street, behind the “Billa” supermarket, VSELENA is in close proximity to both the central park of Sofia and to a transport hub from where one can go anywhere in the city easily and quickly.

In connection with your specific inquiry, I send you the detailed parameters of the currently available 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom apartments in the building “VSELENA”:

Етаж Кота Означение на имотите Застр. площ м2 Общи части
сграда
Обща
площ
м2
€/м2

/без ДДС/

Цена
без вкл. ДДС
/EUR/
%  
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
3 етаж +6.98 Апартамент 11 116.90 1.94% 130.53 1 500 195 800
6 етаж +16.22 Апартамент 30 112.20 1.86% 125.27 1 700 213 000
7 етаж +19.30 Апартамент 32 – 212.8 кв.м 198.70 3.29% 221.82 1 900 424 300
7 етаж +19.30 Покрив – прил. част към Ап.32 14.10 0.00% 14.10 200
7 етаж +19.30 Апартамент 34 112.20 1.86% 125.27 1 800 225 500
8 етаж +22.38 Апартамент 36 198.70 3.29% 221.82 2 000 443 600
8 етаж +22.38 Апартамент 39 112.20 1.86% 125.27 1 900 238 000
9 етаж +25.46 Апартамент 40 – 618.20 кв.м 374.20 6.18% 417.59 2 200 967 500
9 етаж +25.46 Покрив – прил. част към Ап.40 244.00 0.00% 244.00 200

As you can see, the higher the floor level, the higher the property prices.
Another similar offer gives details of the “off-plan” prices in the future “Diamond-2” building and details of the method of payment:

The principle of inclusion in the DIAMOND 2 building is as follows:

1. 10% – downpayment – upon signing the Optional Contract and reserving the selected property;
2. 25% – upon signing of the Preliminary Contract/when there is a Building Permit, which we expect to happen in the next six months at the most/;
3. 65% – upon signing the Notary Deed – after Act 14 /completed basic construction – walls, roof, and masonry/ – minimum one year after the Building Permit is issued and the start of construction at the site;

When following the payment schedule described above, the prices listed in the table/in the attached file/remain the final ones!

Price List: https://bivol.bg/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ДИАМАНТ-2.pdf

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