Bulgaria to Finally Probe Notorious Ethnic Turk Properties
Bulgaria's Prosecutors Office has finally launched a probe in the notorious properties presumed to be owned by the leader of the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, Ahmed Dogan.
The Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, after 4 years of delays, is now investigating alleged tax evasion and other tax crimes related to the properties.
The Prosecutor's spokesperson has declined giving any details such as who exactly is investigated – Dogan or the formal owners of the said real estate.
The probe against the properties began in 2008. The Members of the Parliament from the Anti-corruption committee then asked to be informed who are the owners of the so-called Dogan Saray (Sergalio) – a hotel complex in Sofia's affluent Boyana suburb, the Casa Domini hotel in the mountain resort of Ribaritsa, the SPA complex Orpheus in Devin, the Rosenets park near the Black Sea city of Burgas and the Children's Palace in Dogan's native village of Drandar.
The National Revenue Agency, NRA, after a delay and change of leadership, finally sent to the Parliament two letters disclosing curious facts such as the properties being purchased for very low prices and sustaining huge losses while in business, but still securing large credit loans from several banks. Most of the buildings are owned and maintained by a same "circle" of companies, connected to Minstroy Holding, managed by the former Vice President of the ex Multigroup business empire, Nikolay Valkanov.
The Holding is also linked to the so-called Tsankov Kamak scandal with Dogan allegedly pocketing BGN 1.5 M as a consultant of four large-scale hydroelectricity projects, funded by the State - 'Tsankov Kamak', 'Dospat', 'Gorna Arda' and 'Tundzha' Dam while his party was part of the former governments.
Meanwhile, at the beginning of 2010, the co-owner of Casa Domini, Arben Havaliov, was sentenced for Value Added Tax, VAT, draining, and the Commission for the Confiscation of illegally acquired assets began a procedure to seize the property.
The properties case was given for an audit to NRA, which, upon conclusion of the probe sent the findings to Prosecutor's Office.
Dogan has lived for many years, and lives, in the Boyana "Saray" even though the property is not listed under his name.
The leader and his party DPS (which was in the governing coalitions in 2001-2009) have been rumored to have created corruption networks of clients and nepotism connections in the sectors and regions controlled by them over the past years. However, these allegations, while circulating freely in the Bulgarian media and society, have not been proven legally, and have not been recognized as illegal and/or threatening activities by state institutions.
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