Bulgarian Motorcycling Federation 'Sorry' about F1 Blunder

Business | September 8, 2010, Wednesday // 13:08|  views

The President of the Bulgarian Motorcycling Federation, Bogdan Nikolov, was a key figure in the bringing of potential F1 investors from Abu Dhabi to Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Motorcycling Federation extended Wednesday apologies to the Economy Ministry and personally to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, in connection with the Formula 1 scandal.

In an official letter, signed by the Federation's President, Bogdan Nikolov, the latter admits responsibility about the misunderstanding surrounding the potential investor in Bulgaria's project to build a F1 racetrack near the village of Dobroslatvsi, where the Abu Dhabi consortium Emirates Associated Business Group (EABG)was presented as a State-owned company while its Board of Directors President, Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki, was listed as a Sheik.

In the letter, Nikolov explains the Federation received information from their negotiators in the Middle East that EABG was a consortium without specifying if it is a private or a State company and that the consortium's top management was from the "ruling family."

Nikolov points out it is important for Bulgaria to attract wealthy foreign investors not only for MotoGP and F1, but for all infrastructure projects, regardless of their ownership – State or private, Sheik or not, and appeals to all those, who do not wish to help, to, at least, not stand in the way.

The F1 scandal broke last Friday, when 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 letter informing EABG had no intentions whatsoever to invest in any such endeavor, and was so disappointed by the way the information got twisted around they would cancel investment plans in Bulgaria all together.

The CEO of EABG, Raid Abu Hudra, was quoted saying the group never before encountered such lack of professionalism, mostly over the company's misrepresentation (an August 30 official press release of the Bulgarian Economy Ministry, listed EABG as state-owned while Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki was presented as a Sheikh of "Abu Dhabi"), and will do their best to warn all its partners to not invest in Bulgaria.

The saga received a new spin on Saturday when EABG representative Anwar Badwan, whose position at the consortium is reported to be that of an "adviser", announced he had received a racketeering email with the following text: "Send USD 94 M in order to iron out the misunderstandings." The letter was signed by a person named Alex Tsakov. Badwan showed a print out of the email to the media.

On Sunday, it became clear that Badwan had also received a second email from the same person, Alex Tsakov, containing threats against him and his family.

The Bulgarian Interior Minister reported later, the emails were the work of pranksters.

Badwan confirmed the company is still interested in the project and hinted the letter published by "Sega" could have been manipulated, something the newspaper's editor-in-chief firmly rejected.

On Wednesday, Economy Minister, Traicho Traikov, told the TV channel bTV he already harbors serious doubts about the investor.

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Tags: Prime Minister, Sheikhs, Raid ABu Hudra, Boyko Borisov, Rumen Petkov, Bogdan Nikolov, UAE, EABG, Emirates Associated Business Group, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki, Formula 1, Economy Minister, Traicho Traikov, Economy Ministry, Nikolay Mladenov, Foreign Minister, Anwar Badwan, F1-gate, Formula 1-Gate, Dobroslavtsi


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