Yordan Hristov’s nephew turned out to be the head of the company that extracts gas from the Bulgarian fields in the Black Sea. Hristov became known as the husband of Borislava Yovcheva with the house in Barcelona. Rositsa Velkova, close to GERB, who bought her boutique “Chervigno”, is a representative of a major intermediary on the gas market and works with the company of nephew Ivan Yordanov. Another company of the “uncle” is a supplier for the European projects won by companies of Yordan Hristov.
Ideologue of Gerberism: “I also wanted a boutique of Chervigno”
“I have good connections in Italy and I wanted to develop a fashion business” – this is how Rositsa Velkova explained to BRRD why in March 2020 she bought the luxury boutique Ermanno Scervino in Barcelona. The manager of the boutique was the former “Miss Bikini” Borislava Yovcheva, who allegedly has a child with Boyko Borisov.
The store was explicitly emptied after on February 20, 2020, the Catalan newspaper El Periodico reported on an investigation by the Catalan police into money laundering, which involved the name of the Bulgarian prime minister. Investigators were interested in a $3 million luxury home in Barcelona. euro, inhabited by Yovcheva, as well as by the company Ema BGS S.L., owner of the boutique Scervino.
For this company there are doubts about the legal origin of its capital and working capital. Borislava Yovcheva exercised “management and control functions” in the store, according to Spanish investigators, and the amount invested in Ema BGS S.L. reached 2.3 million euros.
Ema BGS S.L. became the property of the Bulgarian “VBG Energy” a few weeks after the scandal Barcelona Gate broke. Velkova is the owner of VBG, but the next day after the acquisition of Ema BGS she sold VBG Energy to Desislava Hristova. The latter is the wife of Svetoslav Spasov, who is a former adviser to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, a diplomat in Vienna and is also known as Borisov’s personal astrologer.
It is not clear how much the transfer of ownership of Ema BGS S.L. cost, but the deal is hardly particularly profitable because the Spanish company has accumulated an impressive liability of over 1.2 million euros for 2015 and 2016.
Asked why she had given up on her intentions to develop a fashion business within a day, Velkova said only that these were “trade relations”.
Svetoslav Spasov claimed that he and his wife had separated months before the deal and did not even know about it, then pointed out that the chief architect of Sofia Zdravko Zdravkov was involved in the change of ownership of the luxury boutique.
Otherwise, Spasov’s most memorable statement from his active years in politics is that under the building of the National Assembly there are cemeteries and lakes with negative energy that interfered with the legislative process.
In addition to having connections in the fashion business, Rositsa Velkova is a representative of one of the largest intermediaries in the gas and oil trade, Vitol Gas and Power, registered in the Netherlands. The name VBG Energy of the boutique company actually means Vitol BG. Vitol Gas and Power BV is registered as a member of the Balkan gas hub, but does not have its own gas trading license.
“VBG Energy” obtained a license for electricity trading from EWRC on 17.05.2016. According to its current owner Desislava Hristova , the company had experience in gas trading, but also does not have its own license.
BRRD learned that the company “Petroceltic Bulgaria”, which is the concessionaire of the Bulgarian deposits Galata, Kaliakra and Kavarna, had business relations with Rositsa Velkova and Yordan Hristov, the new husband of Borislava Yovcheva. In 2019, Ivan Stoyanov Yordanov, who is the nephew of Yordan Hristov, became the manager of Petroceltic.
An important client and business partner of Petroceltic was the Haskovo company “Central Gas Supply Haskovo”, owned by Yordan Hristov. So far, Petroceltic is paying off a debt assignment from Central Gas Supply Haskovo.
Industrialist and hotelier Yordan Hristov also became famous because of the investigation of El Periodico. Spanish police discovered that the Cypriot offshore Palms Enterprises Overseas Limited, represented by Hristov, had poured millions into Chervinho’s boutique in Barcelona, and the boutique company was managed by his ex-wife Silvia Nikolova before it became the property of Rositsa Velkova.
After the outbreak of the Barcelonagate scandal, Yordan Hristov married 30 years younger than him Borislava Yovcheva.
Yordan Hristov told the BRRD that his marriage to Yovcheva was a mistake, her child was not his, and acquaintance with Boyko Borisov brought him only problems. He said he didn’t know who owned Palms Enterprises. Hristov also reported that the store in Barcelona generated large losses under the management of his new wife.
“Lobby in Bankya” for gas
BRRD contacted Dobromir Hristov, representative of the US fund, owner of Petroceltic Bulgaria. He dismissed doubts that Yordan Hristov had gained control of Petroceltic’s ownership and said he no longer had a business relationship with him but sold gas to other customers.
Asked why Yordan Hristov’s nephew had become the manager of Petroceltic, Dobromir Hristov replied that at some point he needed a “lobby in Bankya” to develop Petroceltic’s gas business.
The explanation for the “lobby in Bankya” is simple. Yordan Hristov has a house in Bankya and is close to Ivan Sazdov, manager of the tennis club in Bankya. Sazdov is particularly close to Boyko Borisov and led the first election campaign of GERB. As early as its establishment, the civil association GERB was registered at the address Adam Mickiewicz 4 in Vrabnitsa, Sofia, where the address of the Optical-Mechanical Plant OMZ, owned by Yordan Hristov, is located.
The reason Petroceltic is looking for such a political lobby is probably the fact that the concession for the Kaliakra and Kavarna deposits expired in 2020 and has not been renewed so far. Meanwhile, the “lobby in Bankya” has fallen from power and should no longer be a factor that can decide concession issues.
Dubious EU projects
An earlier study by the BRRD found that Yordan Hristov’s companies have won projects with European funding worth over 7.2m euros. BGN and public procurement for nearly BGN 5 million. /see Annex/
It turns out that the company “Sof Project Engineering” Ltd. of his nephew Yvan Yordanov is the contractor of three of the projects for a total amount of nearly BGN 3 million.
According to BRRD sources, there are a number of irregularities with these projects with the supply of machines from “Sof Project Engineering” to “Himmash” and “OMZ”, the hiring of fictitious workers to formally justify multimillion-dollar projects, as well as hollow turnover between companies to avoid VAT.
The very fact of the family connectivity between the companies that won the projects and the company that is the supplier of the equipment is sufficient grounds for a probe by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office of Laura Kovesi.
Proving the origin of the funds invested in Yovcheva’s luxurious life in Barcelona is the main problem of the Spanish investigators dealing with Barcelonagate. Under Spanish law, money laundering, for which sufficient data has been collected, cannot in itself become grounds for indictment. The predicate offense must first be proved – theft or other criminal origin of the funds.
That is why the verification of the related business of the persons involved, and especially of the millions of European subsidies, is a key point in the investigation, which, as it became clear, has already been transferred to Bulgaria.
Appendix 1: European projects won by companies related to Yordan Hristov
Himmash SA 836143969
Amount: 1 088 024 BGN
Total: 299 036 BGN
Total: 93 935 BGN
Total: 844 545.35 BGN
OMZ LTD 831641688
Total: 848 415 BGN
Amount: 1 652 171 BGN
Total: 893 400.00 BGN
Total: 916 800.00 BGN
Perla Tourist AD 102123255
Total: 326 094 BGN
Perla Tourist Invest AD 204126475
Total: 268 804.27 BGN
Total: 7 231 224 BGN or 3.7 M €
Appendix 2: Public procurement won by companies related to Yordan Hristov
Khimmash AD participated in 4 orders for a total of BGN 6,329,587.19.
OMZ Ltd. participates in 3 orders for a total of BGN 1,213,193.84.
Perla Tourist participated in 5 orders for a total of BGN 1,569,366.00.
NT Nerotek participated in 1 order for a total of BGN 539,649.
Komunaltechmash participated in 20 orders for a total of BGN 2,116,729.37.
The European Health Insurance Fund participated in 3 contracts for a total of BGN 4,921,428.00.
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