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Tainted Bulgarian Eco Chief Denies 'Hanging Out' with 'Dunes Gate' Builders

Society | January 15, 2013, Tuesday // 13:08| Views: 960 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Tainted Bulgarian Eco Chief Denies 'Hanging Out' with 'Dunes Gate' Builders Boycho Georgiev, head of the Regional Environmental Inspectorate in Bulgaria's Burgas, in 2010 after assuming office. Photo by BurgasNews

Boycho Georgiev, head of the Regional Environmental Inspectorate in Bulgaria's Black Sea city of Burgas, has denied reports that we was seen in a car belonging to the owners of SLE Group, which caused public outrage by attempting residential construction on coastal sand dunes, a scandal that became known as Dunes Gate.

"These are sheer manipulations, this is absolutely not true. This jeep has nothing to do with SLE Group so I will defend my rights to the very end, I will alert all state institutions so that this case can be resolved to the fullest. This is blackmail, and its goal is my removal from office," Georgiev told the Focus news agency on Tuesday, shortly after Bulgarian investigative journalism site published a video showing him in the luxury car said to be associated with SLE Group.

Georgiev further claimed there were people wishing to remove him from office who had been following him for months.

"The jeep in question has nothing to do with SLE Group, and the people that it belongs to are ready to confirm that. Somebody really wants to remove me from office, and this is a systematic offender of the law who wants me to be gone so they can keep doing what they do," elaborated the eco chief in Burgas.

Georgiev once again denied knowing or meeting the managers of SLE Group, Lachezar Bogdanov and Stanimir Stoyanov.

"Many people want me gone because I do my job. When you do your job, and sanction offenders, they do anything they can to remove you," he claimed further.

In his words, those who have been "following" him for months, are using Dunes Gate in order to put together some story to discredit him.

"Dunes Gate" did lead the Bulgarian government to terminate the project for the construction in the NATURA 2000 protected area near top resort Nessebar, after on Monday Bulgarian Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova prohibited any construction there.

Georgiev is the Bulgarian official who signed a decision in favor of SLE Group, making it legal for the firm to carry out residential construction on the sand dunes. Amidst the scandal, he denying knowing any of the people behind SLE Group.

"I have never seen these people in my life, I don't know who they, they have never come to talk to me," Boycho Georgiev told BNT on January 8, 2012.

However, on Tuesday, Bulgarian investigative journalism site Bivol.bg published a video making it clear that the eco chief in Burgas has used an Audi Q7 belonging to the owners of SLE Group.

The YouTube video was made exactly a month before Georgiev denied knowing the owners of SLE Group, in the afternoon of December 8, 2012, and a week before he signed the decision in favor of the controversial firm’s project to build residential property on the protected sand dunes on the Black Sea beach.

The jeep with a transit No. 653H036 was leased by the owners of SLE Group, and its number was issued on December 4, 2012, but was changed immediately after the Dunes Gate scandal outraged the public on January 2, 2013, Bivol.bg reveals. This number formally belongs to a car leasing firm in Sofia, it says.

Bivol.bg further notes that Boycho Georgiev is an active party functionary and currently a city councilor in Burgas from the ruling center-right party GERB of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. He was also the Bulgarian state official who signed the Environmental Impact Assessment for another outrageous resort construction project – on the very beach in Irakli, another Black Sea coastal protected area.

“So that there would be no questions about how a civil servant got such a luxury car, Boycho Georgiev’s Audi with license plate number А 1161 МА technically belongs to Vig Trade EOOD, our sources say. His business car Form with license plate No. А 4848 КР can be seen in the background,” Bivol.bg writes.

On Monday, Bulgaria’s Environmental Minister Nona Karadzhova cleared Boycho Georgiev of any wrongdoings on Dunes Gate and justified his actions with decisions made by his predecessor.

“The head of the Regional Environmental Inspectorate in Burgas based his decision for construction on the dunes in Nessebar on decisions of the previous director,” she told reporters.

In her words, there was no mention of “dunes” in the paperwork that Georgiev had his disposal, and the land in question near Nessebar was presented as part of the Forestry Fund.

“The head of the Regional Environmental Inspectorate is not an investigative institution in order to investigate the paperwork,” she concluded.

SLE Group EOOD is managed by Lachezar Bogdanov and Stanimir Stoyanov. They have a joint firm called Beach Holiday with Todor Boyadzhiev. Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov is the best man of Todor Boyadzhiev's daughter. Beach Holidays and SLE Group are registered at the same address at 27 Otets Paisiy Str in Nessebar.

Since April 2011 SLE Group is 100% property of Dutch-based firm AMCT Holding BV. According to the Dutch firm register Mint Global “АМСТ Holding BV” was registered in Amsterdam on April 1, 2011, days before it acquired SLE Group.

Bulgaria's Vice-PM and Minister of Interior has stated that although he is Boyadzhiev's family friend, he has no role whatsoever in the dealT.

However, in the past, Boyadzhiev had again surfaced as the man who transfered to Tsvetanov 2 of the 6 scandalous apartments acquired very quickly by the politician.

Sunday the Tema weekly recalls that for the first two years of the current GERB cabinet's coming to power in 2009, the businessman's TVB construction company has won BGN 25 M in public procurement.

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Tags: Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Sand dunes, Todor Boyadzhiev, Nessebar, Black Sea, GERB, public procurement, TVB, Dunes Gate, NATURA 2000, Bivol, Boycho Georgiev, Nona Karadzhova, Environment Ministry, Environment Minister, Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters, Burgas, SLE Group, Lachezar Bogdanov, Stanimir Stoyanov, AMCT Holding BV
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