Investor determined to proceed with Karadere project

Madara Europe, the company given Class A investor status by the Bulgarian government, has expressed determination to proceed with its holiday resort complex construction project on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, with one of directors telling local media, “we have invested seven years in this”.

Speaking to local television station bTV, Madara Europe board member Scott Perkins said that the company hoped to start construction in September, but this depended on whether all permits would be granted by then.

He said that the project had been presented after nine months of revision after the Invest Bulgaria Agency initially turned it down, pointing out the changes needed.

The changes to the application had led to cabinet approval of the memorandum of understanding between the government and Madara Europe classifying the firm as a “Class A” investor under the Investment Promotion Act, which in turn by law enables fast-tracking of procedures for the project.

“We want to build a world-class tourist complex in Karadere,” Perkins said, adding that the project would put Bulgaria “on the map of world tourism destinations”.

He said that Madara Europe was the company that would build the resort and was part of Rainbow Malta, in turn part of Rainbow Group Services (registered in the British Virgin Islands).

Next week there would be a meeting of shareholders at which the Madara Bulgaria Properties Fund would buy 50 per cent of Rainbow Malta Holdings Limited.

Perkins said that he was aware that there was a lot of speculation about the owners and said that they were a family who had sold their steel business and wanted to invest in the resort.

On March 25, Madara Europe issued a media statement saying that its investors were large investment funds, wealthy British families and banks.

The statement identified Madara Europe’s representatives in Bulgaria as Perkins and Lyudmil Gachev, the latter described as an “independent financial expert” who had worked for a number of banks. Bulgarian media reports added that Gachev also had been identified by the Dossier Commission as a former agent of the fourth department of State Security.

The Madara Europe project is the subject of a continuing series of protests that have drawn thousands of people to the streets of major cities in Bulgaria against large-scale construction at one of the few remaining relatively unspoilt parts of the country’s Black Sea coast.

On March 25, environment minister Iskra Mihailova said that the project could not proceed in its current form because it affected two areas within the EU-wide Natura 2000 environmental conservation network. However, she hinted that the project might get approval if it was scaled down.

Faced with public outrage at the government decision to grant first-class investor status to Madara Europe, government officials have sought to underline that the granting of the certificate did not mean that the project itself had been approved officially.

From within the ruling axis, Bulgarian Socialist Party MP Georgi Kadiev told local media that the Karadere project showed that the recently-approved law governing offshore company’s activities in Bulgaria did not actually work.

(Photo: Svilen Enev)




The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.