Blic: 8000 Serbian Families Devastated by Bulgarian Tycoon

Business | November 1, 2010, Monday // 17:05|  views

Bulgarian businessman Hristo Kovachki. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian businessman and energy tycoon Hristo Kovachki has been accused of ruining the lives of 8000 Serbian workers' families, the Serbian newspaper 'Blic' states.

“Kovachki can never be seen without his huge convoy of bodyguards“ the article informs about the habits of the Bulgarian businessman. The reason for this close guard is presumably that the bad management of the 15 companies Kovachki owns in Serbia has left some 8000 workers unemployed.

“The workers saw the owner only once, surrounded by lots of bodyguards”, explained Nebojsa Petrovich, Nevena factory union leader. „Everyone in the management was hiding from us.”

The bad management led to frequent strikes. '”Regretfully, nobody has heard our voices up to now.”, Petrovich said.

The Serbian newspaper mentions another controversial detail about Kovachki - his possible ties with alleged Balkan drug lord Sreten Josic. It is reported that Josic made an active contribution in Kovachki's acquirement of another Serbian company – Trajal in Krusevac.

Last week, Serbia's Privatization Agency terminated its contract with Bultsvet, a company owned by Kovachki, for the sale of the Nevena cosmetics factory in the town of Leskovac.The agency had given him 15 consecutive deadlines before the termination. Bultsvet had acquired the factory three years prior to the termination.

In 2008, Kovachki faced a EUR 100 M fine be the European Commission, since he then refused to shut down his Brikel Thermal power plant in the Bulgarian town of Galabovo. The tycoon has also been investigated for tax evasion, estimated by the prosecution at BGN 16 M.

Kovachki, whose political project in Bulgaria, a centrist party called LIDER, failed to win seats in July's parliamentary election, has diverse business interests, ranging from manufacturing to banking and from energy to retail. The energy tycoon is considered to be one of the richest businessmen not only in Bulgaria but in the whole Balkan penninsula. His wealth is estimated at about EUR 256 M.

In 2008, it was reported that Kovachki plans to invest some EUR 1 B in Bulgaria's neighbour, Serbia. The reports raised the interest in the Bulgarian investments in Serbia in general.

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Tags: Serbia, Bulgaria, tycoon, Hristo Kovachki, LIDER


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