Russian civil servants favour Bulgarian property – report
Russian civil servants with property abroad favoured Bulgarian real estate because of low prices and mild climate, business daily Vedomosti said on August 20.
Vedomosti sifted through thousands of asset declarations filed by Russian civil servants and top-level executives in state-owned companies and found more than 100 people who declared that they owned property abroad – about a third of them, in Bulgaria.
“Bulgaria is not an elite market, you cannot compare it to Monaco, London or New York. Real estate here is bought primarily as vacation property. Foreigners can do so without restrictions and it is not difficult,” the daily quoted Georgiy Kachmazov, who manages foreign real estate advice website tranio.ru, as saying.
Some of the civil servants interviewed by the daily pointed out the low property prices – much cheaper than a dacha (vacation house) outside Moscow, as MP Dmitry Gudkov said – and the good weather, which makes Bulgaria an ideal location for holidays with the family.
Other popular destinations include Italy, Spain and France, but many other civil servants own property outside Russia through companies and do not declare it directly, the daily said.
In autumn, Russia’s lower house of parliament is set to vote on amendments to the civil servants act concerning assets held abroad. Two bills have been tabled – the milder version will make declaring foreign property mandatory, while the other bill will require all civil servants, elected officials and military personnel (as well as their closest relatives) to sell all their foreign property within six months, otherwise they will face a steep fine or up to five years imprisonment, Vedomosti said.
Even if the second bill were to be passed, the law contained plenty of loopholes that allowed bypassing the restrictions, a lawyer quoted by the newspaper said.
Russia is one of the main markets for Bulgarian resorts and Russians have been the only growing group of foreign property buyers over the past several years after the end of the Bulgarian property boom. Billboards in Russian advertising real estate and property advice can now be seen in most Bulgarian resorts.