Summary title: Petition No 1111/2020 by Vera Staevska (Bulgarian), on behalf of the Society for Investigation Practices, “Green Law” initiative on the allegedly manipulative reduction of market valuations of swapped state properties by the Bulgarian government
Petition number: 1111/2020
Topics: Competition, Agriculture, Fraud and Corruption
Name of association: Society for Investigation Practices, “Green Law” initiative
Name: Vera Staevska
In its Decision on the Aid Scheme SA.26212 (2011/C) and SA.26217 (2011/C), the European Commission demanded that the Bulgarian authorities recover the illegal state aid granted through 132 forest transactions in the period 2007-2009. While the Bulgarian government announced that EUR 40 million in state aid were registered for 103 of the transactions at the end of 2019, the petitioner claims that an investigation by her own experts demonstrated that the evaluation of state aid is based on assessments that are more than 10 times lower than the market prices/value of the forests in 2007-2009. The petitioner claims that the Bulgarian government carried out falsified market evaluations of the forests to significantly reduce the amount of unlawful state aid to be recovered and they did not accept the offers of individual beneficiaries to annul the swap contracts. The petitioner highlights the European Court of Human Right’s case of Kostov and Others v. Bulgaria as an example of a practice of lowering the market evaluations of land estates.