Racket Made EABG Consider Dropping Bulgarian F1 Project

Business | September 4, 2010, Saturday // 16:49|  views

Anwar Badwan (l) and Rumen Petkov gave a special press conference on the plans to build a Formula 1 racetrack in Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

The Abu Dhabi Company Emirates Associate Business Group (EABG) which declared and later recanted interest in financing the construction of a Formula 1 racetrack near Sofia complained of being racketeered.

A company representative, Anwar Badwan, who arrived in Bulgaria to help settle the issue is quoted by Darik radio saying EABG received an email reading: "Send USD 94 M in order to iron out the misunderstandings." The letter was signed by someone named Alex Tsakov. Badwan showed a print out of the email to the media.

The Member of the Parliament from the opposition Socialist party, and former Interior Minister, Rumen Petkov, who is also the Chair of the Initiative Committee for the project to build a F1 racetrack in the village of Dobroslavtsi, commented the above said mail was only a small fraction of the campaign to sabotage EABG investments in Bulgaria. He revealed the company had received a "disgusting letter," aiming at making them give up on their intentions to finance the project.

On Friday, the Bulgarian daily "Sega" reported EABG refuted statements of Bulgarian authorities it will invest in the project to build a Formula 1 racetrack.

The Sega daily cited a company statement informing EABG had no intentions whatsoever to invest in any such endeavor, and is very disappointed by the way the information got twisted around they would cancel all investment plans in Bulgaria all together.

The CEO of EABG, Raid Abu Hudra, is quoted saying the group never before encountered such lack of professionalism and will do their best to warn all its partners to not invest in Bulgaria.

The problem largely stems from an August 30 official press release of the Bulgarian Economy Ministry, which listed EABG as a state-owned, not private, and its owner Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki was presented as a Sheikh of "Abu Dhabi", not as businessman. In its coverage, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) corrected this information after conducting its own research.

Also on Friday, the Economy Ministry declared that EABG is committed to the plans for building a Formula 1 circuit in the country despite a misunderstanding that led to an international scandal.

In Sofia Badwan confirmed the company's desire to continue collaborating with the Bulgarian cabinet. Badwan's exact role and position with EABG remains unclear.

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Tags: Anwar Badwan, Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, Economy Ministry, Traicho Traikov, Economy Minister, Formula 1, Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Emirates Associated Business Group, EABG, UAE, Bogdan Nikolov, Rumen Petkov, Boyko Borisov, Raid ABu Hudra, Sheikhs


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