Twenty-five million of the money for the Hemus Motorway was received at a cash desk by two people associated with Roma parties. One of them was also chairman of the youth structure of the MRF in Mezdra, an investigation by BRRD and Zov News found.
Last week, at a joint press conference of the services, it was announced that 5 shell companies (in the scheme demonstrated to journalists are marked as a “missing trader”) have received nearly BGN 56 million from the money for Lot 5 of the Hemus Motorway. After that, proxies of the “missing traders” withdrew 55 million to a cash desk in an unnamed bank. The names of the companies and proxies were not disclosed.
At the press conference, Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov said that the bank from which millions were withdrawn “in bags and sacks” was linked to former partners of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov from the SIC group – “The Pasha, Madzho, Margins”. This description is answered only by “International Asset Bank”, not according to official data, but from a US diplomatic report revealed by Wikileaks.
International Asset Bank (formerly the First Eastern International Bank). The Bank of SIC – one of the former most influential organized crime groups in Bulgaria. According to the latest information, Gazprom is interested in IAB for its future projects in Bulgaria. The bank is owned by the Margini brothers, who have been detained in one of the most notorious cases against organised crime. There are suspicions that former State Security officers are connected to the Margins, who are said to be close to both the Socialists and right-wing politicians from the circle of former Prime Minister Ivan Kostov. verbatim in the report. Since its publication in 2011, the bank has denied all allegations about it.
From public information disclosed by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, it is known that initially the money for Lot 5 was transferred from the state-owned Avtomagistrali EAD to Water Construction – Blagoevgrad AD, which is related to Groma Hold (former Agrohold). Then, through a company designated as a “buffer” in the scheme of the Ministry of Interior, they were redirected to the “missing traders”.
Our investigation at this stage found the buffer company, some of the shell companies and some of the persons who withdrew money at the cash register. The companies are registered in the Northwest – Mezdra, Lom, and are owned by persons with low social status. But those authorized to withdraw money from the bank have distinct political ties and a relatively comfortable material and social standing.
“What’s going on here? Yesterday came the NSSI, the police, today you…” – with these words the concierge of a block in Sofia’s Lozenets district welcomed our reporter who asked about the company “Pro Building Group” Ltd. In the Commercial Register as an address for correspondence with the NRA is indicated “Rusaliyski prohod 10 Entrance B; Et. 2; App. 10″, but as it turned out such an apartment does not exist, and no one at this address has heard of such a company. The situation is similar with the other shell companies in the scheme, whose addresses in Sofia the reporters visited us.
“Pro Building Group” is registered at 03.09.2019 with capital BGN 63 by Natasha Toshkova Kamenova, born 1949 from Plovdiv. Lom. On 30.10.2020 Ivan Todorov Georgiev joined as a partner, who is the owner of 37 companies and manager of 40, and many of them have debts to the NRA. This indicates that Georgiev is present in companies as a straw man rather than as an entrepreneur. For its short existence, Pro Building Group has also managed to accumulate a solid debt of BGN 2.5 million to the NRA and is on the list of companies without property.
But according to the Ministry of Interior, supplemented by a source familiar with the investigation, between 18.06.2020 and 23.09.2020, Pro Building Group received BGN 13,962,222. from “Bul Stroy Group IG” EOOD, connected to “Water Construction – Blagoevgrad” AD., which in turn received 87 million from the state to build Lot 5 on Hemus Motorway.
13,309,290 of these 13,962,222 were withdrawn to a cash desk “in bags and sacks” by a proxy of the company “Pro Building Group”. It is about Danail Naydenov Georgiev, who is the son of the owner Natasha Kamenova.
Danail Georgiev is not destitute, but has his own construction business . In the Roma neighborhood of Lom he lives in one of the most personal and tidy houses built a few years ago. In 2009, Georgiev joined the political council of the Euroroma party, and in 2011 he led the list of the Euroroma party for the local elections in Lom.
On the phone, Danail Georgiev was visibly embarrassed by the question whether he had withdrawn millions from Asset Bank. However, he confirmed that he had been questioned in the case: “I was asked, but I had nothing to do with it… They didn’t ask me about Asset or anything. I’ve had workers, I’ve been asked if they’ve worked, and that’s it, that’s over, point of matter. If I had hauled millions, do you think I wouldn’t have been misled? They saw that I was not connected with these things and so far, nothing.”
BRRD contacted the leader of “Euroroma” Tsvetelin Kanchev, who remembered Danail Georgiev as a former coordinator of “Euroroma” in Lom. “He was engaged in construction brigades – faience, terracotta, small things… He lived on credit.” According to him, Georgiev was used in “Hemusgate” as a strawman: “Some lemon is put there.”
For a long time he had nothing to do with “Euroroma” – Kanchev was adamant. “Once Dimitar Avramov pulled them under GERB, and then he took them to the MRF,” explained the Roma leader. It is about GERB MP Dimitar Avramov, who changed his party with DPS and became famous because of the allegations of blackmail of businessman Ilchovski.
A second Roma story unfolds around the company “Leventa 90” Ltd., which, according to the presentation of the Ministry of Interior, between 18.12.2020 and 06.01.2021 received BGN 11,987,940. from “Bul Stroy Group IG”. Leventa 90 is a company with a history, established in 2012 in Plovdiv, but on 29.05.2020 it changed hands with Emil Zahariev Iliev from Mezdra. The company’s address is in Sofia.
The proxy of “Leventa” is called Toma Georgiev Yankov and according to a source familiar with the investigation, he has withdrawn BGN 11,831,315 at a cash desk from Asset Bank. Contacted by phone, Yankov confirmed that he had a power of attorney from “Leventa 90”, but after the question whether he had withdrawn millions from the company’s accounts, he hung up the phone.
A few years ago, Toma Yankov was chairman of the youth structure of MRF in Mezdra and his meeting with the asset of the organization was sealed in archival media publications. Our reporter contacted Karolina Koehler, the municipal coordinator of the party in Mezdra. We asked whether Yankov is still a member of the MRF, but she said she did not want to answer our questions.
Toma Yankov’s father is Georgi Yankov, who is the nephew of former prosecutor and Roma leader Toma Tomov and had a common company with him. This was confirmed by phone by Toma Tomov himself, but downplayed the role of his nephew’s son in the scandal: “The boy worked two years ago, he was lied to, not paid. Nothing will come out of this tuft,” he said.
Sources of BRRD and Zov News shared that the persons associated with this company not only gravitate around MRF structures, but also have a role in drug distribution networks in the area.
According to investigators, the money withdrawn from the accounts of Leventa 90, Pro Building Group and three other companies eventually reached the same person, whom the deputy head of the General Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime (GDBOP), Lyubomir Nikolov, described in a TV interview as an “ordinary man” who had no experience in construction and had no political connections. So far, the fate of this huge amount in cash is unknown. The BRRD and Zov News continue with the investigation of the companies and individuals used as “mules” in the scheme, which apparently has a common command center.
Щом сте стигнали дотук, вероятно вече си задавате въпроса как се финансира този журналистически проект.
От създаването си BIRD се финансираше от подаяния в нашето журналистическо чекмедже.
Но на чекмеджето му мина времето. Даже прокуратурата затвори онова Чекмедже, знаете кое…
Нашето финансиране влиза в крак с епохата. Фондонабиращата ни кампания вече се казва
Дарявай за BIRD и мятай павета в блатото с корумпирани политици и други тарикати.
Те тайно премятат пари от твоя джоб в своя. Те размятат безнаказано лукса си пред очите на всички. Няма кой да ги накаже ако се надяваш на държавата.
Мятай, за да ги накажеш ти. Да дариш за разследващите журналисти е гаранция, че гадостите, с които силните на деня те замерят, ще им се върнат.
Можеш да метнеш веднъж, за да ти олекне!
Но по-добре е да мяташ редовно всеки месец и да се чувстваш трайно удовлетворен.
А най-добре е да доведеш приятели и да мятаме редовно заедно в екип. С мощен залп!
*За кръстник на новата ни фондонабираща кампания избрахме другарката Ваня. Благодарим й за вдъхновението!
До момента имаме 411 активни редовни дарители, които осигуряват 5697.34 € месечно. Нашата цел е те да станат 1,000.
Събери се с приятели и мятайте заедно с BIRD. Лесно е.
1. Регистрирай се 2. Създай отбор 3. Създай свой профил 4. Покани приятели
Или се включи в някой отбор:
Lightning network: email@example.com
This post is also available in: Български (Bulgarian)