Банкеръ Weekly



Among the numerous statements, conjections and speculations regarding the recent killing of MG Corporation's President Iliya Pavlov, one of the most sensational was that of the MP from the NMSII Dimiter Lambovsky. In front of journalists in Stara Zagora he said that Mr. Pavlov's favourite to head the Energy Ministry is not a minister or deputy, but is not without a connection with the Cabinet. A survey of the BANKER weekly found that the favourite of the killed businessman was Drumi Drumev, the incumbent head of the Executive Agency for Energy Efficiency. He was appointed to the position in the end of August 2002 by an order of the Energy Minister Milko Kovachev. Unitl then the agency had practically no management. Some months later - on December 15, 2002 Mr. Drumev was appointed to the Board of Directors of MG Bulgaria.Drumi Drumev entered the ruling circles in August 1997 as a deputy chairman of the Committee on Power Engineering (headed by Ivan Shilyashki). In November 1997 he became a member of the BoD of Toplofikatsiya Sofia EAD, and on August 12, 1998 was appointed to the managerial team of Minstroi Holding as a representative of the State's share. Mr. Drumev remained in the holding's management after Multigroup became a majority owner of Minstroi Holding on June 16, 2000. One of the most attractive assets of the privatized company was the building at No 172, Dragan Tsankov street in Sofia, in front of which Iliya Pavlov was shot. But the private corporation had taken hold of it even before it acquired the state-owned company. The BANKER weekly has many times written about the processes of redistribution in the energy sector, where according to Mr. Lambovsky those who ordered Mr. Pavlov's killing should be sought. The two cessions Multigroup-Bourgas, closed in 1994 and revoked a year later by the Supreme Administrative Court as offending the interests of the State, the society and the gas company, have been commented in detail throughout the years. Multigroup's forays into the gas sector, legitimated by the first contract of September 1994 for gas deliveries to Bulgaria, have been also described. This contract is in fact the first document, legalizing the entrance of mediators in the transition of natural gas from Russia.On January 8, 1996 Multigroup Bulgaria Holding entered the Bulgarian-Russian JV Topenergy, acquiring 8.25% of its assets. According to pundits, the initial negotiations (between the then vice president of Multigroup Dimiter Ivanov - a former head of the notorious 6th Department of the now extinct State Security Service - and the Russian side) were frustrated by Adrei Lukanov. However, the confrontation between him and Mr. Pavlov's corporation became evident at the general meeting of Topenergy, held in September 1996 in Moscow. About a month after the scandal Adrei Lukanov was shot in front of his home in Sofia.Iliya Pavlov was at war with the cabinet of former BSP premier Zhan Videnov as well. But a few days after he handed in his resignation, the young socialist leader knuckled under to Multigroup's will. On December 29, 1996, the government in resignation made two important decisions. By one of them all main gas conduits were excluded from Bulgargas' assets, and by the second one a procedure for their concessioning was invited. Ivan Kostov (who followed Zhan Videnov as premier) revoked both decisions in the very first days of his government. Late in the autumn of 1997 Multigroup's long quitting of Topenergy, and hence - from the gas business - began.Iliya Pavlov's battle with the UDF government is both emblematic and doomed, sources close to Ivan Kostov's cabinet commented then. It was emblemetic for the transition period when the initial accumulation of capital directly depends on the attempts of private corporations to impose their decisions to the governments. And it was doomed as it is beyond the powers of any private company, independent of its size and financial potential, to play together with the executive if it is not ready for such deals. In the late autum of 1998 Multigroup was excluded from the gas business, at that not without the participation of the Russian party and Gazprom. According to pundits, Iliya Pavlov ceded his stake in Topenergy against USD15MN, paid by the Russians. By the end of UDF's mandate only one of the corporation's multiple projects was accomplished - the privatisation of Minstroi Holding. Multigroup's construction company Minstroi is at the bottom of the corporation's pretentions for the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

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