Villa of Bulgarian Government’s Press Officer – Huge but Cheap

The villa of Bulgarian government’s PR Sevdelina Arnaudova in the village of Bistritsa near the capital Sofia has a built-up area of 577 square meters for ER 540,000. At EUR 935 per square meter, it is a very lucrative deal considering the area and the type of property. According to real estate sites, prices in Bistritsa range between EUR 1,350 and EUR 1,600 per square meter. This is reminiscent of the #ApartmentGate scandal. Moreover, Arnaudova’s family income, bank loans and relatives’ help to pay off the villa’s mortgage raise many questions.

Bivol filmed with a drone the property at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the village of Bistritsa, where other people close to the government own luxury villas. Our editorial team also obtained all notarial deeds and mortgage entries for the family’s properties. This is how we learned of the area of 577 square meters spanning four levels. The footage also shows a freshly paved driveway, as well as construction waste, indicating recent repairs or additions.

Loans covering 96% of the value of the property

To finance the villa, Sevdelina Arnaudova and her husband Delyan Dimitrov have received an extremely advantageous loan from DSK bank in the amount of BGN 1,017,040 (EUR 520,000) for a term of 30 years with 2.6% interest. The bank has financed 96% of the property without even asking for any collateral, such as a mortgage on the family’s other home in Sofia.

Arnaudova and Dimitrov bought an apartment of 198 square meters and a garage in a luxury building in Sofia’s Ovcha Kupel district in 2015, again with a mortgage loan from DSK. The price of the apartment was BGN 352,049 and the loan was for BGN 293,000 (EUR 150,000), meaning that DSK had financed 83% of the value of the acquisition. The term was 30 years with an interest rate of 4.7%.

DSK’s lending terms extended to the family are obviously very favorable and almost impossible for ordinary citizens, who are required to make a down payment of more than 20% of the value of the property, and must provide collaterals for large loans. Nothing of the sort had been requested from Sevdelina Arnaudova’s family.

Moreover, as a politician, Arnaudova is subject to special monitoring and banks’ compliance departments examine carefully politicians’ loan applications due to the risk of money laundering. Banks also see political appointments as risky jobs because they depend on the political situation. However, DSK did not ask such questions and apparently accepted that the government of the party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) would rule for the next 30 years, and Arnaudova and Dimitrov’s income would remain stable.

Bivol sent written questions to DSK on the advantageous loan, inquiring about the lack of down payment and collateral conditions, the income that had been taken into account and whether a risk analysis had been performed as required when lending to a political person. No response was received until the editorial closure of this article.

Sevdelina Arnaudova provided explanations about her income and loans to Sega weekly. It turns out that she managed to repay the loan for the apartment in Ovcha Kupel in only four years through gifts from her parents. The family’s income was BGN 165,675 in 2019 and included BGN 80,528 from Delyan Dimitrov’s job wages, BGN 22,469 from his salary from GERB, BGN 8,400 from renting an apartment in Sofia and BGN 19,558 from the sale of a garage. Arnaudova’s income was BGN 34,720 in 2019. According to Sega, the family’s income was BGN 132,574 in 2018.

A rich party member with a father from State Security

Delyan Dimitrov‘s dizzying career, leading to a job with a salary of BGN 10,000 per month, is linked to his membership in GERB. Prior to that, he owned a small business. However, the boy is thoroughbred. His father Valentin Ivanov Dimitrov was an agent of the Communist-era secret services, the State Security, according to reports by the Files’ Commission, the body tasked to examine the State Security’s few undestroyed records.

Dimitrov’s political activity in favor of GERB has been rewarded with a series of sinecures in State-owned companies – Montazhi (Montages), Industrial Zone – Vidin, National Company Industrial Zones, Communications Construction and Reconstruction.

He worked as an assistant for Bulgaria’s current European Commissioner Maria Gabriel in 2015, who was then a MEP. Dimitrov married Sevdelina Arnaudova in April 2015. His appointment to the Board of Bulgartransgaz in August 2015 with a huge for Bulgarian standards salary, was obviously his wedding gift.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said amidst a nepotism scandal in 2017 that only one person from a given family can work for the administration and the others should quit. Sevdelina Arnaudova then told the media that her husband’s resignation had been filed on October 5, 2017, nevertheless, he is still with the State company Bulgartransgaz.

According to Arnaudova’s explanations, in addition to Bulgartransgaz, her husband had been doing some work for GERB but details remain unknown. There is no public information about Delyan Dimitrov’s diplomas, college major(s) and qualifications.

Gifts from real estate deals at intriguing prices

In 2016, the parents of Delyan Dimitrov and Sevdelina Arnaudova also acquired apartments in the luxury building in Ovcha Kupel, where the young family had settled a year earlier.

Valentin Dimitrov and Mariana Dimitrova, Delyan Dimitrov’s parents, paid on October 21, 2016, BGN 215,141 for an apartment of 127.6 square meters. There is no evidence of a mortgage in the Property Register.
Sevdelina Arnaudova’s mother, Dimitrina Kirilova, made an extremely profitable deal by acquiring on April 1, 2016, 128 square meters for EUR 60,000.

She then sold on April 7, 2016, an apartment of 80.9 square meters in Sofia’s Nadezhda district for only BGN 40,000, a little above the tax assessment, which was very unprofitable for her.

On April 26, 2016, Kirilova donated to her daughter Sevdelina EUR 40,000, which she used to repay the loan for the apartment to DSK. Therefore, it turns out that in just one month, EUR 100,000 left Dimitrina Kirilova’s accounts and EUR 20,000 came in. Through a modest sale for EUR 20,000, she managed to help the young people with EUR 40,000 to pay off their mortgage loan and acquire a large apartment for herself.

Moreover, Dimitrina Kirilova’s new apartment was not off-plan or unfinished. Its original price by the builder, Gloria Palace, was BGN 157,160 in 2008. There is no explanation why the buyer sold it so cheaply to Kirilova in 2016, when prices in this area exceeded EUR 1,200 per square meter.

In the end, Kirilova’s entrepreneurship paid off generously. She managed to sell the apartment on March 18, 2020, for as much as EUR 200,000, which she again donated to the young couple to pay off the mortgage for the house in Bistritsa ahead of schedule.

Delyan’s father, Valentin Dimitrov, also helped the family. He bought a garage from Arnaudova and his son Delyan for BGN 19,558 at the end of 2019. Arnaudova reported this modest amount in the family’s income for 2019.

Arnaudova’s father – a police chief also working for a gambling boss

In the midst of a Facebook shootout a few days ago between exiled gambling boss Vassil “The Scull” Bozhkov and Sevdelina Arnaudova, it became clear that the latter is the daughter of a police officer. Her father, according to Arnaudova herself, had worked for Vassil Bozhkov since 1998.

The father, Stefan Arnaudov, became head of the police precinct in the western town of Trun in 2010. Prior to that Captain Arnaudov was a chief in the Svoge police precinct and prior to that, he was the driver of the chief of the sixth police precinct in Sofia. Arnaudov retired in 2012.

However, the law prohibits combining service in the Ministry of Interior with work for a private structure. That is why Arnaudova’s confession about her father’s relationship with Bozhkov is extremely scandalous but remained out of sight of the media. Perhaps because such examples of illegal transfers of employees of the Ministry of Interior to shady businesses and vice versa are numerous and not news to the public.

A check by Bivol established that Stefan Arnaudov had received for many years a salary from the company Eurofootball, associated with Vassil Bozhkov. Arnaoudov left the company shortly before the prosecutor’s attack on the gambling boss earlier this year.

Stefan Arnaudov is the “poorest” member of the family with only a cheap property in the town of Svoge registered in his name.

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