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255 opinions matching your query "Highlander"

Highlander - 4 Nov 2010 // 16:13:03

Interesting numbers and they clearly indicate the Borisov 's government has not achieved much the last year despite mind-blowing rhetoric.
Nobody should be surprised by the fact that Bulgaria is a high-risk country for investors,and problems with building/construction permits and property registrations are directly connected
to extreme corruption in the public sector.
Investors or property owners who refuse to pay horrendous bribes to the local mayors or the building authorities, are faced with systematic blackmail and delays "due to regulations".
Some municipalities, like Sofia, are claiming tax pr. m2 (Up to 8 euro pr. m2) approved building permit, only to be followed by endless meetings, new claims for building regulations and change of details.
Add the regular bribes, and too many investors have experienced that their investments have turned into a financial nightmare.

So the ranking is fair and just- Bulgaria has deserved it's low ranking and sent a strong signal to potential investors. It is said that Russian investors have eyed the Bulgarian tourist and property market, and that is fair enough due to the fact that Russia is even more corrupt and high-risk zone for investments. Russian investors are used to bribes and corruption, and certainly they will feel comfortable in Bulgaria!

Highlander - 3 Nov 2010 // 22:26:24

Spot on, Nellie ! Not only the Chinese, but almost any foreigner in need of an extra "legal" can buy a passport, driving license, car documents,university diplomas or resident document in Bulgaria. Not to mention falsified Property Deeds !

As in most heavily corrupt countries it is just a matter of money ie. how much you are willing to pay the police "consultant" or public servant for the service. Bulgarian passports come very handy for citizens from countries outside EU with which EU has no agreement of extradition. Tax fraud, organized crime, financial crimes etc. In Bulgaria these new citizens will never be investigated for anything as long as they "play ball" with corrupt officials and policemen - and pay pretty horrendous regular bribes for the service.

As the documents and passports are "legal" and issued by official authorities in Bulgaria, there is no risk passing borders and customs control.

16 000 ? The Minister must be joking(as always)! Add another zero and we are closer to reality.

Highlander - 3 Nov 2010 // 21:53:06

For the much debated consulting services, Tsvetanov declared BGN 40 000 for 2007-2009 and another BGN 19 000 in 2009, just before becoming member of the cabinet, paid to him for working a as consultant on security levels, crime, and protection of foreign investments in Bulgaria. He also consulted on systems for monitoring and control and the status of foreigners residing in Bulgaria.

Tsvetanov, again, refused to say, who exactly hired him and paid for those services.

Sorry, Mr.Tsvetanov, this is simply not good enough ! A awful lot of "svada"-crap, and nothing precise.Control and monitoring the status of foreigners residing in Bulgaria - what kind of ridiculous nonsense is that ?
He must have been working on some kind of subcontract/employment as a consultant. He has obviously had a substantial "extra" income as a consultant, but cannot or will not present any documents that confirms payments/pay cheques /contractual conditions or who/which company hired him. He would not stand a minute for income tax inspection/assessment in any other EU country. He could easily have received millions of euros for murky business deals, in cash, but due to Bulgarian law(?) it is up to him to make proper bank deposits and legalize whatever amount he chooses.

But he has contributed to illustrate why politicians and public servants in Bulgaria can get away with rampant corruption. The Conservatives will now have to produce a courts order to get access to Svetanov's bank accounts and financial activity. Before that a prosecutor will have to open criminal investigation for tax fraud and revenues from criminal activity.

Which prosecutor is willing to take the challenge to investigate the Interior Minister ?
It is obviously a problem as Tsvetanov can terminate/close down any investigation against him , but he cannot give orders to the Judiciary?Courts. NRA is not trustworthy
as the chair had to consult Tsvetanov / Borisov before the tax probe was done, and the agency has now abandoned further investigation in "luxury properties by helicopter".

A Parliamentary Committee is also impossible as GERB and ATTAK have declared they will block any attempt to question the Interior Minister further.

Highlander - 3 Nov 2010 // 13:24:51

Certainly Dr.Faust, you are absolutely right. Bulgaria should strengthen trade ties with Russia and it represents a huge market for Bulgarian products. But Russia is not a so-called "emerging" new market for Bulgaria or Europe in general, and EU is uneasy with Russia's political ambitions regarding energy deliveries.
Bulgaria still has a miserable track-record as member state after its entry in 2007- rampant corruption and organized crime prevails and has become even worse under Borisov's Government. And major reforms have not been implemented in Bulgaria. So the country has a weak position in EU and Borisov's wobbling with Belene, South Stream and Nabucco has not made the situation better. He might think he is free to choose whatever option is profitable for Bulgaria regardless of political and economic commitments to EU policy.

Bulgaria is free to choose, but the choice comes with a price. If the Bulgarian Government feels more comfortable to act on bilateral terms with any country, then there is no need for Bulgaria to be part of EU and submit EU policy. Bulgaria was never invited to join EU, and the delayed membership came with doubt and clear demands on reforms, corruption/organized crime,decommission of nuclear plants, and limited access to EU 's labor market. Bulgaria has not improved substantially since 2007, and its major contributions has been continuous fraud with EU funds and increasing corruption.

Bulgaria is free to cancel its membership in EU and I personally think EU and Bulgaria is better served with Bulgaria as a neutral cooperative (case to case) "outsider",free to choose trade partners and political alliances. As it is now - it simply does not work.

Highlander - 3 Nov 2010 // 00:28:28

Certainly, we are all speechless as it is absurd rhetoric ! In the past Bulgaria was part of the Soviet Empire - is that what Borisov wants? To revitalize what is gone ?
EU is a free and fair market for Bulgarian products, but the Government is still living in the past.
Borisovs support of Russia's political ambitions wont make him popular in Bruxelles. The great war against corruption and organized crime is over, and it never started- and Bulgaria's honeymoon with EU is definitively over and Bulgaria is back to square one again.

What comes next ? He will declare full commitment to EU's Nabucco as well, hoping for Russia and EU to finance all projects ?
Borisov might have been a good fireman once, but his legacy as a modern politician is not much to brag about.

Highlander - 2 Nov 2010 // 12:34:54

An estimated one EUR in every five handed out in aid was said to be "siphoned off by corrupt officials," the report shows while a staggering two-thirds of alleged EU fraud concerns just six countries: Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Certainly fraud and corruption has escalated in the mentioned countries and it puts Bulgaria's fight against corruption and organized in a strange perspective. The Borisov Government reports success, while the cold facts and numbers tell you that corruption and fraud in Bulgaria has increased far beyond the previous Government.

Nothing new in the EC report, just a cold hearted confirmation that nothing has been done in Bulgaria and fraud is on increase.

Highlander - 2 Nov 2010 // 12:22:25

It declares that if the South Stream gas transit pipeline gets bogged down by unreliable partners, Gazprom might have to opt for construction a terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the Russian Black Sea coast that could prove to be a good alternative of the much more expensive pipe.

It is certainly a good idea for Russia / Gazprom to modify Russian Geopolitical ambitions in Europe, especially with partners like Bulgaria in the project. A terminal for liquefied gas is by far a sound alternative.
Bulgaria hopes for low cost(free) natural gas in return for political "cooperation" . Hopefully Russia has realized what it means to deal with Bulgarian authorities in joint ventures (Belene) and puts any cooperation on hold.

Highlander - 1 Nov 2010 // 22:58:39

Petar Rousseff lived in France for 15 years, heading to Argentina in 1944, and shortly after that to Brazil, where he married Dilma Jane Silva, and settled in Belo Horizonte.

So, what did he do in France for 15 years ? He left France legally in 1944 and settled in Brazil, after Argentina.
It has been mentioned he worked for the German company Mannesmann AG. That means his left wing /communist activities could not have been substantial, as Mannesmann AG, IG Farben, Siemens, Ruhrstahl etc were known to be strong and active supporters of Hitler's nazi regime. They extensively used Jewish slave labor for production- Treblinka/Auchswitz
in Poland best known (IG Farben).
So the honourable Petar Roussef was issued passport/personal documents by the authorities in Nazi occupied France in 1944 and left for Argentina ? So did celebrities like Adolf Eichmann and other wanted war criminals, as Argentina had a very liberal attitude towards escaping Nazi refugees.

Anyway, Dilma Roussef has been elected President in Brazil and that is a great achievement. She is born Brazilian- that means she is not of "Bulgarian" origin, and she does not seem too enthusiastic about the attention from Bulgarian authorities and distant relatives. Who can blame her?
Her father left Bulgaria 81 years ago and he left a pregnant wife he never bothered to contact again, besides sending some money. Not much of a hero and role model!

So what is Mr. Borisov hoping for? The Brazilian President to be financially generous with
Bulgaria and relatives in Gabrovo?

Highlander - 1 Nov 2010 // 11:47:57

It is a very familiar Bulgarian "picture"- cash money handed over in return for promised "favors". Then harassments start. The story makes sense.

The Bulgarian Conservatives now have political momentum, but how can they ever make it to the courtroom with any evidence ?
The police and the prosecutors are all public servants and employees in the Interior Ministry where Tsvetanov still is "the boss", and he will never allow any serious investigation.

Then to the more serious accusations/insinuations. Bulgaria is the most important and safe transit country for illegal drugs and contraband from Middle East/ Asia and Europe. Mainly by road through Turkey, but also by ship from Armenia/Georgia to Bulgaria.

The illegal, grey/black trade means billions of euros indirect revenues for the Bulgarian state and the Interior Ministry employs the customs officers and the border police. The Customs officers and public servants/police officers with luxury cars and multiple properties have not financed their lifestyle with ordinary salaries. NRA might be allowed to issue tax penalties, but the Interior Ministry and Customs Agency wont allow any public criminal investigation of the employees.

Certainly the Conservatives might have a point if they suspect the Interior Minister is indirectly involved in corruption and serious organized crime. But to prove that Tsvetanov is deliberately turning a blind eye to large scale corruption and crime ?

Tsvetanov is right about the accusations being a threat to Bulgaria's stability. If they are verified, the Borisov Cabinet would have to resign and there is no political alternative to GERB in the present situation. Borisov might, as usual, choose to "sack" more ministers and public servants, but the Government will have to rule without legitimacy.

The political pressure is piling up, but can the Conservatives follow up the accusations in the courtroom?

Highlander - 31 Oct 2010 // 23:26:39

" Who are you going to sack now, Prime minister ?"

The funding from EU' s infrastructure fund is already lost/drained and the Government is searching for someone to blame. The Trakiya Highway is never going to be finished under this Government, and there will be no new public tenderss to drain EU taxpayers money.

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