EABG Confirms Interest in Bulgarian F1 Project

Business | September 4, 2010, Saturday // 17:44|  views

The EABG rebuttal letter, signed by their CEO, Raid Abu Hudra, sent to the Bulgarian daily "Sega." Photo by Sega.bg

The Abu Dhabi Company Emirates Associate Business Group (EABG) is a private not state-owned, and is interested in investments in Bulgaria, the company's representative Anwar Badwan stated Saturday.

Badwan, reported by some Bulgarian media as being an advisor to the company, arrived in Sofia to help settle the issue with EABG's alleged intentions to build a Formula 1 racetrack in the village of Dobroslavtsi near the capital. He confirmed the August 30 company visit had been made so that the Abu Dhabi businessmen can learn more about the project, along with other investment opportunities.

Badwan pointed out the owner of the company, Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki, came to Bulgaria on his advice and stressed al Blouki is not a Sheik as listed in the Bulgarian Council of Ministers press release.

The advisor confirmed the company signed a letter of intent and is interested in opportunities in Bulgaria, including taking a look at the F1 project, but reiterated the deep disappointment over the false information reported by the cabinet and multiplied by the media.

"I have not read the publications, but I have been informed about them. I am here to correct the mistakes. We are not afraid of them, but we want to fix them," he said, adding EABG representatives were flattered they have been invited to meet with Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov during their visit.

The next step is to bring experts to Bulgaria to assess the most profitable investment opportunities, according to Badwan.

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. In an angry letter, sent to the editors, the CEO of EABG, Raid Abu Hudra, writes 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, he says, 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 corrected this information after conducting its own research.)

Badwan commented on the letter Saturday, stating two thirds of it corresponds to the truth, but the statement EABG no longer wants to invest in Bulgaria and it would advise partners to not do it either had never been written. His explanation, quoted by the Bulgarian information agency BGNES, was that someone from "Sega" wants to harm the cabinet and its relations with the Abu Dhabi company.

"Potential F1 investors are satisfied with their official talks in Bulgaria. We are yet to receive an apology about the information blunder, but misunderstandings happen all the time," the advisor said.

It emerged during the press conference, held at the Sofia airport, that Badwan would not meet with members of the cabinet but will discuss with the Bulgarian Motorcycling Federation the topics of the forthcoming September 11 talks in Italy with F1 representatives dedicated to racetrack plans in Bulgaria.

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 F1 project, reiterated he was not the source of the information blunder, which stirred the scandal, and Bulgaria had never been so close to the realization of the plan.

According to Petkov, a journalist from "Sega" had written a letter telling the company not to invest in the project because it was doomed to failure.

The opposition MP accused "Sega" in attempts to discredit the project. When asked in what capacity a journalist would write to EABG, Petkov replied – in the capacity of a vigilant Bulgarian citizen.

It was reported earlier that Badwan informed EABG received an email reading: "Send USD 94 M in order to iron out the misunderstandings." He showed a print out of the email to the media.

Also in earlier reports, Petkov was quoted saying the company had received a "disgusting letter," aiming at making them give up on their intentions to finance the project.

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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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