Bulgaria Lost up to BGN 8 B from Swap Deals with State Property

Domestic | October 23, 2009, Friday // 15:06|  views

Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister Naydenov - pictured here right behind Prime Minister Borisov - has vowed to preserve the country's forests by terminating the notorious land swap deals. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian state has lost anywhere between BGN 2 B and BGN 8 B from swap deals with state lands in the last few years.

This was announced in Parliament Friday by Bulgaria’s Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, who cited data of NGOs. A report of the World Bank has set the figure at EUR 0,5 B.

“This is the greatest theft in contemporary Bulgaria. And since the forests are our last national resource – they cover one third of the territory of the country – we have taken immediate action – we placed a moratorium on changing the function of swapped forest lands in order to preserve them as forests. We have left everything in the hands of the prosecutors,” the Minister commented.

Naydenov answered a question of Stoyan Ivanov, an MP from the nationalist Ataka party, who pointed out that 33 000 decares of state lands, mostly along the Black Sea coast and in the top mountain resorts, have been swapped for plots of private owners in the last six years.

Ivanov presented data about a land swap deal near the resort town of Primorsko on the Black Sea coast, which was carried out in the last days of the former government, and under which a private owner got first-class beach-side property for BGN 10 per square meter.

The deal, however, has not been finalized because the Town Council in Primorsko has refused to confirm it, and has alerted the Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev.

Naydenov reminded Friday that on Thursday the former head of the State Forestry Agency, Stefan Yurukov, was charged with criminal breach of trust and abuse of power over the land swap deals in the recent years.

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Tags: Miroslav Naydenov, Agriculture Minister, land swap, State Forestry Agency


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