Bulgaria Says Threats against Abu Dhabi Exec F1 Fans' Joke

Business | September 6, 2010, Monday // 10:55
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Says Threats against Abu Dhabi Exec F1 Fans' Joke Anwar Badwan (l) and Rumen Petkov gave a special press conference on Saturday on the plans to build a Formula 1 racetrack in Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

Young Bulgarian IT experts, living abroad, have sent via e-mail racket demands and threats to a representative of Abu Dhabi company EABG, who arrived in Sofia Saturday to clear an international scandal about the construction of a Bulgarian Formula 1 track, officials announced.

"Most probably they did it for fun, because these are young and well educated people, Formula 1 fans. We hope to manage to contact them with the cooperation of our partners abroad at the beginning of the week," Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said.

The "Bulgarian F1-gate" erupted over the past week starting after the press office of the Bulgarian Economy Ministry reported incorrect information about a cooperation agreement between the Ministry and Abu Dhabi consortium Emirates Associated Business Group (EABG), allegedly for the construction of a Formula 1 track near Sofia.

It received a new spin on Saturday when EABG representative Anwar Badwan, whose position at the consortium is reported to be that of an "adviser", announced that as the Formula 1 scandal developed, he had received a racketeering email reading, "Send USD 94 M in order to iron out the misunderstandings." The letter was signed by a person named Alex Tsakov. Badwan showed a print out of the email to the media.

On Sunday, it became clear, however, that Badwan had also received a second email from the same person, Alex Tsakov, containing threats against him and his family. As a result, Badwan immediately sent his daughter, who was accompanying him in Sofia, out of Bulgaria.

During his news conference with Badwan on Saturday, the Member of the Parliament from the opposition Socialist Party, and former Interior Minister, Rumen Petkov, who is also the Chair of the Initiative Committee for the project to build a F1 racetrack in the village of Dobroslavtsi, commented the above said mail was only a small fraction of the campaign to sabotage EABG investments in Bulgaria. He revealed the company had received a "disgusting letter," aiming at making them give up on their intentions to finance the project.

On Friday, the Bulgarian daily "Sega" reported EABG refuted statements of Bulgarian authorities it will invest in the project to build a Formula 1 racetrack.

The Sega daily cited a company statement informing EABG had no intentions whatsoever to invest in any such endeavor, and is very disappointed by the way the information got twisted around they would cancel all investment plans in Bulgaria all together.

The CEO of EABG, Raid Abu Hudra, is quoted as saying the group never before encountered such lack of professionalism and will do their best to warn all its partners to not invest in Bulgaria.

The problem largely stems from an August 30 official press release of the Bulgarian Economy Ministry, which listed EABG as a state-owned, not private, and its owner Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki was presented as a Sheikh of "Abu Dhabi", not as businessman. In its coverage, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) corrected this information after conducting its own research.

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Tags: Rumen Milanov, unit for combating organized crime, Prime Minister, Sheikhs, Raid ABu Hudra, Boyko Borisov, Rumen Petkov, Bogdan Nikolov, UAE, EABG, Emirates Associated Business Group, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki, Formula 1, Economy Minister, Traicho Traikov, Economy Ministry, Nikolay Mladenov, Foreign Minister, Anwar Badwan, F1-gate, Formula 1-Gate, Dobroslavtsi
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