Bulgaria Bans Construction Works on Swapped Forest LandDomestic | August 5, 2009, Wednesday // 16:10| views
Bulgaria's new Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, has uncovered scandalous land swap deals encompassing a total area of 33 000 decares worth billions of levs. Photo by BGNES
The new management of Bulgaria's Forestry Agency, appointed following the election victory of center-right GERB party, has banned construction works on forest land, acquired through swaps, one of the most widely spread corruption schemes.
The move, announced Wednesday by the agency head Georgi Kostov, spoils the plans of numerous businessmen with links to the former Socialist government, who managed to acquire state-owned forest land near winter and summer resorts after swapping them for private plots in less attractive or lower-priced parts of the country.
In January, Bulgaria's parliament imposed a ban on all land swaps under pressure from dozens of environmental groups.
It was namely the GERB party of popular Sofia mayor Boyko Borisov, backed by environmentalists, which raised alarm over of large-scale land swaps at the beginning of May, just ahead of the general elections that it won by a large margin.
Since 2003 the former Bulgarian governments have carried out scandalous land swap deals encompassing a total area of 33 000 decares worth billions of levs.
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