Bulgaria: The Biggest-Earning Politicians

By Martin Dimitrov

Delyan Peevski of the Movement of Rights and Freedoms was the Bulgarian politician who enriched himself the most in 2017, according to the property and interests declarations published on Monday by the Commission for Illegal Assets Forfeiture, CIAF.

Peevski has earned over 37 million lev, or 18.5 million euro, in dividends over the year of 2017, his declaration on the CIAF website shows.

This is in addition to the 9,6 million lev in bank deposits he holds in five different bank accounts in the country and abroad, the six different apartments, houses and offices, and four types of cars (including “BMWs, Audis, Mercedes and Land Rovers”), which were rented for over 400,000 lev or 200,000 euro over the year.

Peevski has been to the Bulgarian parliament only once since the convening of the 44th National Assembly in April 2017, but has had all of his absences excused by the administration, according to a Mediapool.bg investigation.

A year ago he declared substantial earnings for the first time– 77 million lev or 38.5 million euro, and stakes in a number of offshore and Bulgarian-based companies, despite the fact that the extent of his wealth, business and media interests has been rumoured for years.

Before 2016, Peevski officially owned two apartments in Sofia worth 80,000 lev (40,900 euros) and a 2003 Opel Omega car.

The other MP whose family substantially increased its declared earnings in 2017 is that of the president of the Volya business party, Veselin Mareshki, who owns a large chain of pharmacies and petrol stations across the country.

His wife, Svetlana, earned 2.1 million lev (1.07 million euros) in dividends, received 2.2 million lev (1.12 million euros) in earnings and was given a floor of an apartment building in Sofia by an unnamed benefactor.

The rest of Bulgaria’s party leaders, including GERB’s Tsvetan Tsvetanov, BSP’s Kornelia Ninova, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms’ Mustafa Karadaya and Ataka’s Volen Siderov, did not declare any substantial changes to their interests.

Siderov said he has a majority stake in a central Sofia art gallery, called Stil (Style), while the rest declared only their yearly earnings as parliamentarians (around 40-50,000 lev, or 20-25,000 euros) and money received through loans.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov declared only his savings, compensation for unpaid annual leave and his salary, all amounting to 53,000 lev, or 26,500 euros.

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