Upcoming Bulgarian MP Gets Rid of Heavily Indebted Company

Atanas Tchobanov

In July 2013, the functionary of Bulgaria’s nationalist party VMRO, Stoyan Bozhinov, who is now joining the National Assembly (Parliament) to replace the newly elected mayor of the resort town of Sandanski, sold his company SMRM Trans to someone named Vachko Vachkov. At that time, the company owed nearly BGN 0.5 million to the National Revenue Agency (NRA). More than a year earlier, in April 2012, the NRA had issued to the company an audit sanction for BGN 489,254 for the denied right to deduct tax credit according to invoices.

The new owner had challenged the NRA’s audit sanction in court, but the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) confirmed it with a final rule in 2017. In the meantime, through the company, Vachko Vachkov has obtained loans from DSK bank and has managed to accumulate liabilities for the impressive BGN 3.6 million to the NRA and DSK bank.

With the sale of the company, which owes nearly half a million to the treasury, Stoyan Bozhinov “beats the record” of the former lawmaker from the ruling party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) Dimitar Gamishev. As Bivol revealed, in 2016, Gamishev managed to get rid of a company that owed BGN 200,000 to the NRA by selling it to a “strawman”.

After the scandal, Gamishev resigned as MP, and the NRA filed a case in court against him for reimbursement of the amount. In addition, the tax authorities sought the annulment of 134 such asset transfer transactions for more than BGN 20 million.

Bozhinov: “I am super clean, but I have been deceived”

Bivol approached Stoyan Bozhinov for comment via the social network Facebook. He was adamant that he was “super clean” and had been “deceived” by the company’s poor management, entrusted to another person – Maria Miteva.

“The company was actually run by another person with a power of attorney and I did not have any documents signed, and after seeing that the company was piling debt, I asked the main proxy to transfer the company to one of her employees and to sue back and forth as much as they wanted with the NRA. The proxy did so. The proxy is named Maria Miteva. At all times Maria Miteva managed the company and the accounting books. I have not signed any deals,” Bozhinov said.

Asked if he feels responsible for the large debt regardless of the proxy, Bozhinov elaborated on his explanation:
“I did not deal with this company, I just gave it to Maria to run it. When I found out it was not working well, I asked her to transfer it to a friend of hers, which she did. And in this case, I have been cheated.”
Stoyan Bozhinov disagreed with the recap that his case looks like Gamishev’s. “The obligation was not final, and then the company took out loans and the State could take it all back. I don’t know why it didn’t do it,” he said. “In addition, the legislation was different.”

However, it remains unclear how the transfer of obligations to another person who “should be sued back and forth by the NRA” solves the reputational problem of non-payment of such a high tax amount and the use of strawmen.

The Varna District Prosecutor’s Office had questioned Maria Miteva in a criminal tax fraud case. The pre-trial proceedings had been launched on April 25, 2012, on a complaint by the NRA in Varna. The NRA’s complaint had been against the company “Maxcom 81” Ltd., and “SMRM Trans” had also been among the companies to which invoices had been issued. During questioning, Miteva had claimed that the deal had been real and paid via bank transfer.

The case has been suspended and reopened several times in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. However, the NRA persisted, and in 2016, it even managed to sue successfully the Prosecutor’s Office to continue the pre-trial proceedings after the supervising prosecutor terminated them once again. The further fate of these pre-trial proceedings is unknown.

In 2010, the transport business of the Bozhinov family had some misfortune in Greece. The Greek authorities confiscated trucks with goods belonging to the firm “Storos” Ltd., which was owned at the time by Bozhinov’s mother. The drivers had been detained as well and criminal cases have been started.

“There are no convicted drivers. The Storos company has not been convicted either. The freight forwarders had cooked some swindles there. They have been sentenced, the Greek freight forwarders. We were diligent, but unfortunately, this how it is in the transport business,” Bozhinov commented on this case.

The Greek State has subsequently auctioned and has sold the trucks for a dime. Bozhinov says he was considering suing the Greek State because his company had suffered damage without being at fault. However, the cumbersome procedures and a large deposit discouraged him from bringing the case to a Greek court.


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