STAMBOLIISKY PAPER MILL PAYS SOMEONE ELSE'S DEBTS
Bailiff Atanas Atanassov has been tormenting Stamboliisky Paper Mill for a month. The Plovdiv Regional Court acknowledged three companies' receivables from the mill, totaling some BGN30,000, and issued security orders, the enterprise's managers told the BANKER weekly. Paradoxically, however, this money is owed by Tzelhart AD, which until April 10, 2002 was owned by Isiklar Ambalazh, a subsidiary of the Turkish Isiklar Holding. On that date the assets of the company were bought by the two big international financial institutions - the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Financial Corporation (IFC), which paid USD25.2MN before VAT.Three years ago, on January 22, 1999, EBRD and IFC launched two investment credits, each amounting to USD15.4MN. The entire enterprise was placed in pledge. During the crisis in Turkey the holding stopped servicing its liabilities and the creditors undertook measures to realize the pledge under the Special Pledges Act. Earlier in 2002 they sold Tzelhart's assets to the Stamboliisky Paper Mill, established at that time.The liabilities of Tzelhart AD are not subject to trading and there is no succession between the two companies, says Victor Zarev, Executive Director of Stamboliisky Paper Mill. The lawyer of the enterprise, Boyan Stanoev, explained that after that deal Tzelhart AD should have changed the company's address. It did not do so. That's why, according to the Commercial Code, all claims are filed at No 1, Zavodska Street in the town of Stamboliisky, even though Tzelhart owes nothing at that address since long ago. Nevertheless, in end-June bailiff Atanassov, accompanied by a police officer, entered the accounting department of the mill and showed a security order in favour of Mihov Co - Ilian Mihov, who was claiming to receive BGN8,665.57 from Tzelhart. Mr. Atanassov ordered the embarrassed employees of the paper mill to open the cash-box and, despite their protests, took away USD3,000 and BGN6,000. If he had failed to find money in the cash-box, he would have distrained a machine worth millions of dollars, said Ivan Kostov, Logistics Manager at the company. Two weeks after that Mr. Atanassov reentered the plant and asked to distrain two railway facilities. He showed a security order worth BGN18,372 - this time in favour of Transport-Investments, Commerce, Engineering EOOD. In order to make the scandal typically Bulgarian, the bailiff sent a claim to the Regional Prosecutors' Office. He pointed out that employees of the company had threatened him with a weapon and had impeded him to do his job. I explained to the bailiff several times that he was not allowed to enter and describe the property of someone else. We showed him all documents - notary acts for the trading of the real estates and sales agreements for movable property, as well as invoices proving that everything here is owned by Stamboliisky Paper Mill, said Stanoev. After all those conversations Mr. Atanassov should had written in the statement that that address did not refer to the debtor. If someone claims the opposite, he should prove it, Mr. Stanoev added.