Bulgaria Minister: BGN 300,000 for Nuclear Plant JV Gone
Bulgaria's government will approach prosecutors on suspicions of embezzlement of funds earmarked for Belene nuclear project, the economy and energy minister said on Friday.
“A total of BGN 300,000, which the government allotted for raising the capital of state power utility NEK and forming the joint venture agreement with German utility RWE AG have been spent away,” Minister Traycho Traykov said in parliament.
“The joint venture never happened, but the money is gone,” he said, adding that the revelation raises questions about the control of the then energy minister over the spendings for these companies.
German utility RWE owned a 49% stake in the joint venture that was planning to build a 2-gigawatt EUR4 billion reactor near Belene. NEK owns the remaining 51%.
RWE terminated the joint venture agreement with NEK for the construction of a 2000MW nuclear plant in the Bulgarian Danube town at the end of October due to funding problems.
RWE's withdrawal from the Belene project came after months of speculation that RWE would shelve the plans due to the issues with the Bulgarian state in arranging the necessary financing.
The Bulgarian state is now looking for further investors and is considering to reduce its stake to around 20%. According to Minister Traykov the stake of the Bulgarian state will be fixed by the consultant, which is due to be picked.
The cabinet of the center-right GERB party says it is not willing to provide any state guarantees for loans and is yet to decide whether to scrap or push ahead due to purely economic terms the construction of the multi-billion Belene nuclear power plant.
The new cabinet has spent most of its first 100 days in office uncovering wrongdoings by the previous Socialist-led cabinet, blaming it for depleting the treasury.
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