Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The taxman cometh....

NRA Director: 21 Bulgaria Music Stars Guilty of Tax Evasion

The Executive Director of Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency (NRA), Krasimir Stefanov, has stated that 21 top Bulgarian musicians have been found to have discrepancies between declared income and their assets.
Of the 37 pop-folk and pop singers investigated by the NRA in December, 21 were revealed to have a discrepancy declared income and their assets. One unnamed singer is reported to have not declared any income while owning a property worth BGN 200 000.
Stefanov said that the aims of the ongoing investigations, “which do not immediately mean that the investigated people are guilty of any offense”, were to show Bulgarian society what harm undeclared taxes do. He said that after the recent investigation into Bentley owners an extra BGN 16 M had been added to the state budget. He also added that the aim of the investigation was not to throw a lot of people in jail.
Regarding the ongoing NRA investigation into a total of 261 Bulgarian top flight football players, Stefanov concluded that it was ridiculous that some of them declared a yearly income of BGN 3000. He added; “I hope that they will declare the loans from friends. I hope that public figures understand that if they want to live in this country they should pay their taxes.”

Friday, 11 December 2009

Again Strange but allegedly true !

A painting alleged to be that of legendary French impressionist Claude Monet has been sold in Bulgaria for almost BGN 13 M after being put down as collateral for a USD 319 000 loan for two tractors.
Chude Georgiev, the original owner of the painting, stated that it is certainly authentic and worth EUR 24 M, but according to bank experts and a private bailiff it is fake and probably worth BGN 5000. The case is currently being dealt with in the Sofia City Court and the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office.
At an auction Thursday morning, the private bailiff Stoyan Yakomov, sold the painting for BGN 12,8 M to one of nine private buyers. The painting was given as collateral by Georgiev for a loan from First Investment bank to his friend Alexander Dimitrov. Dimitrov later bought two brand new tractors with the loan. (Georgiev is the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Workers Party, which has participated several times in local and parliamentary elections and Dimitrov is a close friend of the Communist Finance - Belcho Belchev.)
Georgiev allegedly received the painting from his grandfather, a merchant from Vratsa. Much later he said that he realized that it was from the early period of Monet an took it to be certified. According to him, it was investigated by Western experts, who confirmed that the painting was an original Monet, and invented a name for it: ‘Walk in the mansion’. Georgiev then insured it with DZI for USD 8 M and for the same sum with British insurance company Lloyd's.
Georgiev also said that the Christie's auction house told him that the price of the painting is between USD 15-24. Bulgarian experts, however, including the director of the National Art Gallery Boris Danailov, are explicit that it is fake. They say that the canvas itself is produced in the Soviet Union 50-years ago, and gave it a market price of USD 5000 .
After Thursday’s auction Georgiev, who will receive most of the money from the sale, launched a case in the Supreme Cassation Prosecution he argues that Yakimov is working jointly with First Investment Bank and that the bidder is connected to them. He stated that they will then sell it on for a much higher price to “Western” art lovers. He had also previously tried to stop the auction taking place but failed.
Another theory is that Georgiev is connected to the unnamed bidder who has not yet officially paid the sum over to the bank, and therefore the false price would have stopped the auction. Georgiev is also thought to have recently found a buyer in France who wants to pay him EUR 7 M for the painting.


Dear Readers,

There are lots of posts I could have put on here regarding such things as the appointment of Rumiana Juleeva as Bulgaria's new EU Commissioner, the latest shennanigans in parliament,and further dire economic news, but I will confine myself to one piece of economic news that is just emerging.It appears that while Bulgaria is one of the worst affected economies there appear to be signs that a turnaround will happen next year.

Now please bear in mind that recovery is a slow as turning round an ocean liner (there were still over 7 million unemployed in the US in December 1941), but since this recession is basically created by disappearing credit, and therefore consumer confidence, it is not the same kettle of fish.

Let us hope so.

Winter is coming !

Its getting cold now, the last few nights and days have been chilly and tomorrow the snow is coming, according to the weather forecast.It appears that we will have a mild winter this year but, unless you love in a centrally heated place or one with air-con, every day the log fire has to be tended to, piled high at night and cleaned out and re-lit each morning.Coming from London this was a bit of a shock to the system, but you get used to the daily ritual plus the power cuts of varying length.Usually in this big village near a power station its only a few minutes or house, I dont envy the poor devils in isolated areas where it is far longer.

A wood supply for the winter is just over 200 pounds.Electric heating is, on the other hand, hideously expensive and bills of 100 pounds A MONTH  can easily be run up.Gas supplies for a gas central heating system are by large bottled gas containers and are about half as expensive as electric heating.

Generally speaking Bulgaria functions well unless there is very heavy snow and then things, inevitably, start to fall apart. Cities and towns get cut off and airports get closed.If anyone is considering travelling here from the end of December till the end of February please bear this in mind.