Reformist Bloc approaches Prosecutor-General over economy minister’s backing for Karadere project

Bulgaria’s centre-right Reformist Bloc has lodged an allegation at the Prosecutor-General’s office that Economy Minister Dragomir Stoynev broke the recently-approved law on offshore companies by supporting Madara Europe’s project to build a three-hotel holiday resort complex at Karadere on the Black Sea coast.

Public protests, including by environmental conservation groups and opposition parties, have followed the decision on March 19 by the Bulgarian Socialist Party cabinet to give first-class investor status to Madara Europe for the Karadere project.

On March 31, Svetoslav Malinov, a Reformist Bloc candidate in Bulgaria’s May 25 2014 European Parliament elections, lodged documents at the Prosecutor-General’s office saying that Stoynev had broken the law by recommending to the cabinet that the “Class A investor” certificate be granted.

The owners are foreign legal entities registered in offshore zones, and Bulgarian law prohibits such companies from applying for priority status under the Investment Promotion Act unless the actual owners are registered in the Commercial Register.

The Reformist Bloc said that the owners of Madara Europe, eight British citizens, were recorded in the Commercial Register only on March 24, after the cabinet decision.

Malinov told reporters that Stoynev should resign and the project stopped. The Reformist Bloc wanted prosecutors to investigate to determine whether a crime had been committed.

He said that the law on offshore companies, “the pride of the government” had been broken soon after it was approved.

Earlier, the law itself generated controversy after it was proposed by two members of Parliament for ruling axis partner the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Delyan Peevski and Yordan Tsonev.

Stoynev said that he had no worries about the Karadere case, local media reported.

He said that he would welcome it if the prosecutors dealt with the allegation as quickly as possible.

The economy ministry currently was considering applications for certificates for 33 projects worth a total of 2.2 billion leva and certificates for the construction of six plants in Bulgaria.

“If political parties want, they can report to the prosecution each of the 33 certificates, but I think that it is better to wait,” Stoynev said.

The Bulgarian government would support any investor whose plan complied with the law and all investors were equal before the law, he said.

(Photo of Malinov: Reformist Bloc)




The Sofia Globe staff

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