Five months after the first revelations of the global investigation, known as the Pandora Papers, a total of 34 companies with foreign participation Bulgaria, have not yet declared the actual owners, as required by the Anti-Money Laundering Measures Act (AMLMA). They include a financial fraudster company, several companies of nominal owners linked to former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov‘s lawyer Menko Menkov and companies linked to energy mogul and consultant Hristo Kovachki.
Those who have failed to declare the ownership have had enough time to correct the omission. That is why we are now publishing the companies that keep breaking the law, but BIRD.BG also has information about the real owners of these offshore companies.
The Seychelles offshore service provider Alpha Consulting Limited, whose more than 823,000 expired documents cover the period 1996-2020, has the most Bulgarian clients who have not declared the actual owners of companies in Bulgaria. A curious detail about Alpha is that 75% of its customers are Russians, according to its annual report for 2019.
Israeli citizen Ilan Tsorya is the owner of Global Media Partners, registered by Alpha Consulting. The offshore company owns the Bulgarian Global Media Partners with Unified Identification Code (UIC) 203827249, but the actual owner has not been declared. Ilan Tsorya is a partner of “The Wolf of Sofia“ Gal Barak, who was investigated by the German public television ARD, which is a Pandora Papers’ partner. In Bulgaria, Barak turned out to be the mastermind behind a group of financial fraudsters who stole hundreds of millions of euros from naive customers.
Rikamer Investment, registered in the Seychelles by Alpha Consulting, was the sole owner of Iva Properties with UIC 200383611 until June 12, 2019, when it avoided declaring the actual owner and transferred it to another company. The circumstances had to be declared by May 31, 2019 to the Registry Agency. Both Bulgarian companies are represented by Ivan Stamenov.
Two offshore companies with six offending companies each
Wenzer Corporation, registered by Alpha Consulting, is the owner of six companies in Bulgaria: G&G Capital with UIC 175387964, Ecosystem Project with UIC 131040271, Mercury with UIC 110017166, MDC with UIC 200220805, Atom Pro Consult with UIC 175115476, and Jay Partners with UIC 201195384.
Wenzer Corporation has a different official owner from the declared nominal owner from Mahe, Seychelles – Gina Sandra Esparon. She is listed in the Bulgarian Commercial Register as the ultimate owner of dozens of offshore companies, but she is clearly not. In many companies, Gina appears together with Molly Rita Roselie, who also resides in Mahe, Seychelles and is listed as the ultimate owner of dozens of companies, one of which is related to Boyko Borisov’s and his ministers’ lawyer – Menko Menkov. Gina Sandra Esparon is also present in two offshore companies and companies related to energy consultant Hristo Kovachki. In all these dozens of cases, it is formally a matter of declaring false information in the Commercial Register.
Dintwell Ltd, registered in the Seychelles by Alpha Consulting, was the sole owner of Alexa Trading with UIC 204077850, and the nominal owner was the same Gina Sandra Esparon from Mahe, Seychelles. A few days ago, on February 24, 2022, the ownership was changed and the sole owner became a natural person, who until 2020 was a manager.
Transcommerce, registered by Alpha Consulting, is (or was) owner in eight companies, and no actual owner has been declared for six of them: Aldo Obzor with UIC 202567745, Elena Asset with UIC 202025584, DB Asset with UIC 201076241, Transcommerce Bulgaria with UIC 204727077 (until November 11, 2020, when another foreign company became the owner), Aldo Holding with UIC 204669357 (until October 22, 2020, when another foreign company became the owner), Malone Retail with UIC 175242520 (until December 3, 2019, when the owner became first its manager and later a legal entity).
Two offshore companies with three offending companies each
Leewave Investment, registered in the Seychelles by Alpha Consulting, is (or was) the owner of five companies, and no actual owner has been declared for three of them: Anaxagoras Invest with UIC 203576213, Adeon with UIC 201933353 and Arto Consult with UIC 130129190 (until September 29, 2020, when the owner became its manager). Anaxagoras Capital with UIC 203440947 was owned by the offshore company, but was deleted before the deadline for the declaration requirements. A curious detail about Leewave Investment is that there has been a legal attempt to register an actual owner in two of the companies, but the Registry Agency has refused.
Relvana Limited, registered in the Seychelles by Alpha Consulting, is the owner of three companies, and for none of them the actual owner is declared: Energo Metal-2000 with UIC 131086282, Lozenets Home 4 with UIC 203009005 and Priborsnab with UIC 175082311.
More companies breaching the law
Esterling Investment, registered in the Seychelles by Alpha Consulting, owns Alfacommerce Group with UIC 201189381. The actual owner has not been declared. The company had over BGN 0.5 million in liabilities and is among the companies from the Pandora Papers with a total of BGN 164 million in liabilities to the National Revenue Agency.
Hong Kong ‘s Larsen Industrial Group Limited, which is not in the Pandora Papers but is affiliated with the companies of the above mentioned offshore company, is the sole owner of Gateproperty with UIC 200259439, in which the actual owner is also not declared.
Rivington Trading Inc., registered in Belize by CIL Trust International, was the sole owner of Rivington Invest with UIC 040537894 until June 17, 2019, when the ownership was transferred to an individual, thus avoiding declaring the actual owner.
Other companies from the Pandora Papers
Several companies are indirectly linked to offshores from the Pandora Papers.
Luxembourg ‘s European Retail Investment is the sole owner of AP March with UIC 202972747, which owns Piccadilly with UIC 103823381, a company in bankruptcy. Piccadilly has BGN 22.4 million in liabilities to the National Revenue Agency and is among those from the Pandora Files, owing a total of BGN 164 million.
We reported the problems with the declaration of the ownership of offshore companies in Bulgaria in the beginning of 2021. The answers to questions under the Access to Public Information Act, sent to the Registry Agency, revealed 70% violations among the verified declarations of the actual owners. However, only 10 companies were sanctioned with a total of BGN 5,000, or BGN 500 per violation.
BIRD.BG is a partner of ICIJ in the Pandora Papers investigation and examines the information about nearly 200 persons with Bulgarian citizenship or living in Bulgaria, who appear in the Pandora Papers. They include politicians, Delyan Peevski, Nikolay Mladenov and Nikolay Barekov and Arben Havalyov. In addition to them, there are big financiers, lawyers, people involved in multimillion-dollar fraud schemes, but also entrepreneurs with legitimate business and no visible political protections, who have registered offshore companies and have declared them before the Bulgarian authorities.
BIRD.BG has already unveiled the secret offshore companies of the majority shareholders in First Investment Bank Tseko Minev and Ivaylo Mutafchiev, who over the years have received loans of over BGN 1 billion from their own bank. Their offshore companies have also been used in schemes to racketeer business people with controversial lawmaker and businessman Delyan Peevski being the ultimate beneficiary.
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