Bulgaria PM Fuels Suspicions of Strong Ties with Oil Oligarch

Energy | April 8, 2011, Friday // 14:36|  views

Bulgaria's prime minister Boyko Borisov (L) is pictured here with the head of Lukoil Bulgaria, owner of the only oil refinery in the country, Valentin Zlatev. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's prime minister has run, yet one more time, to the defense of the head of Lukoil Bulgaria, owner of the only oil refinery in the country, Valentin Zlatev, widely considered to be the back seat ruler.

"The Russians have the right to pick the consultant they want to work with. I am not in a position to meddle with their work. We have hired HSBC bank, they have hired Zlatev," Boyko Borisov said on Friday on TV+, when asked to comment Zlatev's participation in the talks over the controversial nuclear power project Belene.

In spite of Japan's crisis, the EU's warning and the promise to sever ties with Russia, Bulgaria has bowed to Moscow's nuclear demands in the most scandalous and sneaky possible way.

The head of the National Electric Company NEK Krasimir Parvanov signed on Tuesday an agreement with Rosatom's subsidiary Atomstroyexport that potentially threatens Bulgaria's national interests by obliging the Bulgarian government to reach a final agreement with the Russians on Belene by June 1, 2001.

The sneaky move was slammed by the Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov and led to Parvanov's dismissal, which was eventually overturned by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

Borisov harshly criticized the minister's hasty and emotional reaction and threatened him with being kicked out of office.

It is still an open question whether the signed document is legally binding.

This week's development came months after Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov unexpectedly said the construction on the planned Belene nuclear power plant had been suspended.

Borisov's U-turn fuelled suspicions that links between the mafia and the political system run deep in the energy sector. The man believed to be pulling the strings behind the curtains, the back seat ruler, is Valentin Zlatev, CEO of Lukoil Bulgaria. It was only after he intervened in the talks for Belene that Borisov suddenly changed his mind in favor of the project.

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Tags: Zlatev, Valentin, Lukoil, Russian, Belene, stress tests, moratorium, plants, power, nuclear, Bulgaria, Parvanov, Krassimir, Fortum, Boyko, Borisov, Traicho Traikov, NEK, National Electric Company, Atomstroyexport, Belene NPP, Genadiy Tepkyan, Rosatom, NEK, Parvanov, Krasimir, Russia, Economy Minister, Blue Coalition, Dimitrov, Martin, Bulgarian, Prime Minister, Russia, Russians


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