Protest, threats of court action against Bulgarian deputy PM over Sunny Beach raids

Organisers who cancelled a DJ festival at Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast because of the series of raids of places of entertainment by teams led by Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov say that they intend taking court action against him.

Simeonov last weekend led joint teams of police and other official agencies at clubs in Sunny Beach in the latest of his series of actions against excessive noise and other alleged illegal activities at the resort.

The organisers of Solar Summer 2017 said that they were cancelling the event because of concerns that their equipment could be confiscated.

In a statement, they said that in the raids led by Simeonov in Sunny Beach, clubs had been ordered closed and equipment confiscated in spite of compliance with statutory regulations.

Speaking in an interview with Nova Televizia on August 16, organiser Ivan Donchev said that they would lodge court action against Simeonov over what he described as the deputy prime minister’s illegal actions.

The August 15 statement by the organisers said that Solar Summer had been held at Sunny Beach for more than 10 years and had been featuring the biggest names in the world of electronic music such as Fatboy Slim, Armin van Buuren and Pete Tong.

“We have never imagined a situation in which the world’s top artists may be stopped and the equipment confiscated. In the times of social networks, the news will spread lightning around the world, which will have a very negative impact on the image of both Bulgaria and us as organizers.”

Donchev said: “We are checked continuously and we do not mind the checks, but we are against the illegal actions”.

Bulgarian media reported that owners and staff of resort facilities planned to protest against Simeonov.

At the same time, owners of villas at the resort had filed complaints about the noise that “terrorised” them, Bulgarian national Ombudsman Maya Manolova said in an interview with bTV.

The rules must be observed unreservedly, but it is not the Deputy Prime Minister’s job to do the checks, Manolova said.

On August 14, Simeonov told a news conference in Bourgas that silence should be observed in Bulgaria’s resorts at night, as was the case in Ibiza and Mallorca where – he said – silence was observed after midnight.

Simeonov denied being fixated on Sunny Beach. Checks were carried out everywhere, he said, giving the example of Sozopol where there had been an increase in complaints about noise at night clubs.

He played recordings of complaints from people in Nessebur and Tsarevo about noise in restaurants. He said that places in Varna and the region had been closed, but no one heard about it.

“It is not the job of the Deputy Prime Minister to conduct inspections, but obviously disorder has accumulated over the years, a sense of impunity for these owners, so I set the model for the institutions to work on,” Simeonov said.

Commenting on the fact that at one club, partygoers had shouted calls for him to resign, Simeonov said that this was normal after stopping the fun of people who had paid to enter the club, for parking and for drinks.

He said that open-air establishments were not legally entitled to play music after 11pm. People in the business, like the club’s DJ Stancho, should know the rules, Simeonov said.

“The law is above all, including DJ Stancho,” he said.

He said that the result of the large-scale checks in the resorts were huge increases in reported turnovers. There were restaurants whose stated turnover increased by 1000 per cent after being checked, Simeonov said.

Separately, on August 16, the National Revenue Agency said that the turnover of retail outlets on the Black Sea coast had increased by 100 million leva in July 2017 compared with July 2016.

The number of applications for tax registration of establishments had increased by a third, which showed that many of them were emerging from the grey sector, the agency said.

The place with the highest increase in revenue declared to the National Revenue Agency was Obzor, at 149 per cent. In Albena, the increase was 62 per cent compared with July 2016, in Sunny Beach 10 per cent and in Golden Sands 22 per cent.

The agency said that since the beginning of the 2017 summer holiday season in Bulgaria, a total of 24 000 inspections had been carried out along the Black Sea. Most sanctions were for not issuing cash receipts.

New rules allow tax inspectors to order the closure of places that fail to issue cash receipts. The places usually remain closed for two weeks after being sealed. So far, 113 places had been ordered closed, the National Revenue Agency said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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