Brother of Ex Bulgarian PM Denies Land Swap Involvement

January 9, 2013, Wednesday // 10:23
Brother of Ex Bulgarian PM Denies Scandalous Land Swaps Involvement: Brother of Ex Bulgarian PM Denies Land Swap Involvement
Architect, Georgiy Stanishev, brother of Sergey Stanishev, former PM, leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and the Party of European Socialists, PES. Photo by 24 Hours daily

Architect, Georgiy Stanishev, brother of Bulgaria's former Prime Minister, Sergey Stanishev, firmly denies taking part in any scandalous land swaps on the Black Sea coast.

Speaking Wednesday before bTV, Georgiy Stanishev stated that his only connection with construction plans on protected sand dunes near the historic coastal town of Nessebar was a partnership with a London-based company "Foster and Partners," which has invited his own company "Projects" to join them in a design project for the said land plot.

The architect explained the London company is one of the leading globally with a team of 1 200 people and active work in the area of ecology in architecture. He noted that there was indeed a Bulgarian business, owner of the terrain and it had been acquired piece by piece, but, expect a contract for project design, he had nothing to do with it.

"I don't think it is the architect's job to investigate how a land plot has been acquired," said Georgiy Stanishev, adding his company has not been securing projects over family connections, but over his great work and ties with "London's architectural elite."

He further stressed he was choosing more and more to work abroad precisely to avoid similar rumors.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, mentioned the name of the brother of Sergey Stanishev, former PM, leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and the Party of European Socialists, PES, in connection with accusations the Minister himself was linked to people taking part in the scandalous deal with the sand dunes near Nessebar.

"We should probe who has done what land swaps. I think it would be rather interesting to hear Sergey Stanishev's explanations about his brother who consulted many times construction in protected areas of the Black Sea coast," said Tsvetanov.

Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, further accused Stanishev's brother of purchasing land on the Black Sea coast for just BGN 7.7 per square meter. Georgiy Stanishev reiterated several times before bTV that he did not own any coastal properties.

The scandal now-known as "Dunes Gate," with construction activities on 29 decares of protected area between Ravda and Nessebar on the Black Sea coast erupted in the last days of 2012 when environmentalists said that the area was part of the Aheloy-Ravda-Nessebar protected area from the Natura 2000.

As a result, it became clear that the area was sold without a tender based on an older law that was in force until 2010. The law technically does not provide any way of selling State land without tenders but it said it allowed procedures that started before 2010 to be completed under the older law.

In the aftermath, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov ordered Bulgaria's Ministers of Regional Development, Agriculture, and Environment to update the Forestry Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Biological Diversity Act, and the Black Sea Coast Organization Act "so that such deals and construction projects couldn't be allowed."

On Monday, the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Lilyana Pavlova, pledged that legal amendments will be tabled ASAP to lead to a full ban on construction activities in Bulgaria on plots listed as sand dunes.


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