Hristo Savev, owner of a large construction company and accused in the “Hemusgate” case, has financed with 23.4m euros in 2008. Lv. The acquisition of the luxury “Maxi Park Hotel & Spa” in Velingrad, showed a joint investigation of BIRD.BG, “Zov News” and “Blagoevgrad News”. Among the defendants for the theft of tens of millions through “in house” procedures is a youth leader of the MRF.
The information that part of the money for the Hemus highway was bought a hotel was announced twice to the media by Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev, who, however, did not give further details.
The Prosecutor’s Office is also silent on the issue, which announced new charges, without giving details. The Mediapool website has the names of the accused and publishes their initials : H.S., V.V., M.P., P.B., D.G., T.Y., G.G. and E.C.
The ninth defendant is the former football referee Borislav Kolev, known as “The Man”. He was arrested a few months ago but later released to house arrest. Kolev is known to be a partner with nephew of the mayor of Simitli, a landmark face of GERB.
The scheme, unraveled by the Interior Ministry last year, tracks only part of the money distributed by Avtomagistrali AD under the so-called Highways AD. in house procedure – BGN 84 million advance for the company “Water Construction – Blagoevgrad” AD.
After receiving the money, “Water Construction” transferred 60 mln. Lv. of the so-called buffer firm “Bul stroy group IG”, which in turn distributes them to several “missing traders”. Proxies of the missing traders withdraw the money at a cash desk at International Asset Bank in “bags and sacks”. They handed them over to Borislav Kolev, who said he would cooperate with the investigation and knew who were next in the chain.
From what has been known so far, it is clear that 24 million Lv. From $84 million They stayed in Water Construction. Our investigation found that approximately the same amount – BGN 23.4 million. was invested in the purchase of a luxury spa hotel in Velingrad by a defendant in the case.
Who are the defendants?
Building on the scant information from the state prosecution and the revelations about the affair made in a previous investigation of BIRD.BG and “Zov News”, our team unambiguously deciphered the names of seven of the defendants. All of them are related to companies that have received money under the so-called. “in house” procedures, the buffer companies through which the money has passed, or are authorized by the end companies to withdraw the money to the cashier. We are talking about the following persons:
H.S. = Hristo Savev from “Groma Hold” (former “Agromah”), connected to “European Roads” AD, where the owner is his mother Anka Saveva. “European Roads” AD has received from the state-owned “Avtomagistrali” AD advances of BGN 144.6 million. of a total contracted EUR 324 million. Lv.
W.W. = Victor Velev, owner of “Water Construction – Blagoevgrad” AD and manager of companies related to Savev. “Water Construction – Blagoevgrad” has received from the state “Avtomagistrali” AD BGN 84.1 million.
M.P. = Margarita Popivanova – Manager of “European Roads” and “Water Construction – Blagoevgrad”.
- P.B. = Pavel Bozhilov, owner of the buffer company “Bul stroy group IG”, to which about BGN 60 million have been transferred. This company was owned by the late former owner of “Agromah” Metodi Bachev.
GG. = Georgi Georgiev from Lom, a businessman known as the “Glassmaker”, named by Borislav Kolev as the organizer of the scheme with destitute persons who withdrew money at the cash register.
D.G. = Danail Georgiev – member of the political council of PP “Euroroma”, who weighed 13.3 million leva at a cash desk.
T.Y. = Toma Yankov – leader of the youth MRF in Mezdra /and nephew of the chairman of PP “Roma” Toma Tomov /, withdrew at cash about 12 mln. Lv.
In addition, it is known from our previous investigation that the deceased destitute citizen Krasimir Mitrikov has withdrawn BGN 18.6 million at a cash desk. It seems that drug addict Georgi Shkendov, who as a proxy of two phantom companies, has withdrawn BGN 11 million at a cash desk.
Instead of a highway – a five-star hotel
Our team inspected the property accounts of all accused persons, as well as the accounts of their companies. Thus, we came to the information that Hristo Savev’s company has financed with 23.4m euros. BGN loan the acquisition of the spa hotel “Maxi” in Velingrad.
The deal took place in April 2021, and the amount is comparable to the remainder of BGN 24 million, after Water Construction – Blagoevgrad received BGN 84 million. from the State and transferred 60 mln. of the buffer firm.
Two newly established companies were used to acquire the hotel. On 02.02.2021 in Sandanski was established the company “MM Hotels” AD, in which the main shareholder is “I.G. Tours” of Arben Karadzha, a famous hotelier. His son Dan Karadzha also took a minority share.
On 25.02.2021, Hristo Savev established FIHB EAD, in which he is a sole shareholder. Managers of the company became Victor Velev and Daniela Todorova.
Two weeks later, on 15.03.2021, European Roads AD, which is owned by Savev’s mother, entered the Board of MM Hotels. She is represented by the accused Margarita Popivanova.
A micro-enterprise credited a hotel with 23.4m euros in 2008. Lv.
On 23.03.2021, MM Hotels paid BGN 23,402,290. for the buildings of “Maxi Park Hotel & Spa” of the previous owner “Maxi – 1” AD, and on 14.04.2021 “MM Hotels” established a mortgage in favor of FIHB EAD for the same amount. From the inquiries in the Property Register it becomes clear that FIBH EAD of Savev is a creditor of “MM Hotels” of Karadzha.
The origin of FIHB’s $23.4 million loaned to MM Hotels cannot be traced in detail, as Savev declared that his company was a micro-enterprise and thus avoided filing a detailed annual financial statement.
Upon registration of the company, an initial capital of BGN 50,000 was subscribed, paid by Savev to International Asset Bank, associated with the Sika boss Mladen Mihalev – Madzho. It was from a branch of this bank that the money from Hemusgate was withdrawn and carried out in sacks in an unknown direction.
The FIHB Annual Financial Statements submitted to the Registry Agency for 2021 show only a balance sheet in which BGN 25 million have been accounted for. equity and 24.385 million fixed assets. It is not known when and how the capital rose from 50,000m euros to 25m euros. Lv.
It is obvious, however, that the entry of “European Roads” AD into the management of “MM Hotels” aims to exercise control until the loan of BGN 23.4 million provided to “MM Hotels” is repaid.
A reporter from Blagoevgrad News spent two days trying to contact Hristo Savev, but he did not return calls. Our attempts to find him in the offices of Groma Hold also hit a wall, and employees replied that he was gone and could not connect us.
Similar was our attempt to contact the other defendant Victor Velev, who also did not return our calls.
Their right of reply is reserved and they can contact our team at any time.
Arben Karadzha is a big businessman, owner of the 5-star spa hotel “Medite” in Sandanski, the mall in the city and a number of construction companies. Since 2020, he has been chairman of the Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs in Sandanski.
The news that his company had bought Maxi Park Hotel & Spa was announced in the media on March 15, 2021, that is, before the deal was actually finalized, which was concluded on March 23. Even then, Karadzha claimed that the investment was large and also included renovation of the base – the spa area, the apartments and restaurants of the hotel.
The renovation requires time and money, which indicates that the agreement for the sale and financial flows for the repair existed long before the deal was specified. On the other hand, Karadzha’s MM Hotels and Savev’s FIHB financing were created shortly before the transfer of the hotel’s ownership.
A reporter from Blagoevgrad News failed to contact Karadzha. Our attempts to contact him through the phones of his hotels “Maxi” and “Medite” proved unsuccessful. Officials explained that these were reservation numbers. We also looked for him at the number of the Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs in Sandanski, which was answered by a lady who did not want to introduce herself, but was informed on what occasion we were looking for Arben Karadzha, then directed us to look for him on the phones at the Medite Hotel, where they had already told us that they could not connect us.
Youth leader of MRF is accused
Among the defendants in the case is Toma Yankov, leader of the MRF youth organization in Mezdra. He has withdrawn about 12m euros from the cash desk. Lv. as a proxy of the shell company “Leventa 90”.
The money was transferred to Leventa 90 by the buffer company Bul Stroy Group IG.
A reporter of Zov News searched for Toma Yankov’s phone, but he did not want to answer our questions: “It is neither convenient nor the time,” Yankov said and hung up the phone.
His uncle Toma Tomov, leader of the Roma party, however, was more talkative.
“As always, they will never go to completion,” he said in the affair with the missing millions about Hemus.
Regarding the accusation against his nephew, he said: “I neither know nor care.”
“I don’t talk to my relatives. I’m talking to the serious people you have something to say to,” he added.
The reporter also contacted the member of the political council of PP “Euroroma” Danail Georgiev, also indicted. He quickly ended the conversation with the line
“I can’t, I’m going into the border.”
It is unclear how a defendant in a case of great public interest travels freely across the border. We made a few more attempts to talk to Danail Georgiev, but his phone was turned off.
The last defendant we contacted was Georgi Georgiev – The Glassmaker. “I don’t know what this is about,” he said, claiming that he had nothing to do with Georgi Georgiev from Lom and was a completely different person living in Sofia.
Subsequently, he was approached by another number on the same phone by an undercover reporter who presented himself as the head of a construction company looking for a company for aluminum windows and glazing. That is the business of the Glassmaker.
Georgiev, who previously denied being him, showed competence and became interested in the business offer, then connected the “potential client” with his son Gancho Georgiev, who is currently “making” a school in Krivodol. So it became clear that this is the same person who is accused, but claims to have nothing to do with himself.
The glazier is an old client of the Prosecutor’s Office and KPKONPI. Back in 2013, his commission filed a forfeiture lawsuit with the Sofia City Court. To date, 9 years later, the commission has managed to confiscate only one small apartment in Sofia and even less a shop in Lom. At the same time, however, he failed to confiscate Peugeot, Volkswagen, Audi and a total of about BGN 100,000 in cash. To top it off, KPKONPI has to pay the Glassmaker and 5 grand costs in the case.
Toma Yankov and Danail Georgiev are so far the only persons with a low-level political past who have received charges under Hemusgate.
So far, the threat of former Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov that the Hemus affair could lead to a “change in the composition of parliamentary groups” has not come true.
The prosecutor’s office sabotaged the case. KPKONPI is in no hurry to ban the hotel.
The company “Agromah” became famous in 2016 when the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office searched its offices in Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Lom and Sofia and found millions in cash. Then the inspectors established a similar scheme to penalize the budget through shell companies, “buffer” companies and fake documents.
After the action, it was renamed “Groma Hold” and its former co-owner, the late Metodi Bachev , made headlines with his statement that the mayor of Simitli had intimate relations with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. He was even arrested briefly, but released, as expressing an opinion on such issues is (yet) not incriminable in our country.
Metodi Bachev and Hristo Savev have often demonstrated their closeness to Borisov and GERB, as seen in the photo where they cut ribbon together. In 2020, workers from “Groma Hold” were transported organized to counter-protests in support of Borisov and GERB.
According to the court in the case “Hemusgate” there is evidence of participation in the scheme of people in senior state positions from RIA and MRDPW, but the prosecutor’s office has not yet presented enough data to enable these senior officials to be identified.
The Ministry of Interior has also hinted several times that work on the affair continues and there are indications that the other advances of Avtomagistrali AD for the construction of Hemus have had a similar fate as the BGN 84 million already tracked.
Here it should be recalled that the most serious amounts under the “in house” procedures are agreed with the company “Avtomagistrali Hemus” EAD, whose nominal owner att. Raycho Kotov is a former employee of “GP Group” and a major actor in the scandal #ДжиПиГейт.
In addition, tens of millions have received the companies of a “great and tough” businessman, according to Boyko Rashkov, who had taken them to Dubai.
Meanwhile, the state prosecution hid the file number from its website so that no one could find out what was going on and whether they were working at all. And both Minister Rashkov before and Minister Demerdzhiev recently reported that in fact the supervising prosecutor Sadai and others are actively sabotaging the development of the case in order to prevent the people from the Road Infrastructure Agency and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.
It is also unclear whether the prosecution has sent official information to KPKONPI, which has the power to seize the assets of defendants for money laundering, for which Hristo Savev was involved. Moreover, this is money stolen from the Bulgarian taxpayer who financed the Hemus Motorway, not a spa hotel.
Atanas Tchobanov and Dimitar Stoyanov /BRRD/, Maria Dimitrova /ZovNews/, Marieta Dimitrova and Asen Dimitrov /Blagoevgrad News/ worked on the topic:
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