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The Financial Mines – Murky banking interests in the Bulgarian coal industry drain public funds, destroy thousands of human lives and heavily contaminate the environment

Author: Greenpeace Bulgaria, Published on: 28 February 2018

A group of around 20 Bulgarian companies active in coal mining, electricity and heat production form a closely integrated secretive business structure. The companies are owned by foreign firms on paper, but are evidently linked to one or more domestic banks. This “Coal Empire” is highly indebted, with an accumulated loss of close to 200 million euro as well as delayed payments of taxes, salaries and social contributions nearing 113 million euro. However, the authorities are turning a blind eye to the issue. Some of the biggest air polluters in Europe enjoy huge price subsidies for their “efficient energy”...The coal miners have to accept monthly wages of 300, rarely 400 euro. The miners are often left without pay for months on end and their desperate protests are blatantly suppressed. In the last ten years 23 people have died and 17 have been left disabled while working under the unhealthy and dangerous conditions of the Bulgarian coal extraction industry...Commonalities among the companies include: Horrible labor conditions and miserable wages...Massive environmental pollution...Systematical bullying and humiliation of the workers...Company creditors are exclusively Bulgarian banks: primarily, the First Investment Bank (FIB), followed by Investbank and the already mentioned Corporate Commercial Bank...In the Bulgarian public domain these companies are commonly associated with the businessperson Hristo Kovachki...[P]reparing this report we analyzed the annual financial reports of 19 companies including 8 mines, 8 district heating systems and 3 TPPs for the ten-year span between 2007 and 2016...The mines that were analyzed are the following: Chukurovo, Beli Breg, Staniantsi, Cherno More – Burgas, Mini Otkrit Vagledobiv – Pernik, Balkan 2000, Vagledobiv Bobov Dol, and Fundamental. This network also includes the district heating systems of Burgas, Pernik, Pleven, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Vratsa, and Sliven. The TPPs are Maritsa 3, TPP Bobov Dol, and Brikel... 

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Related companies: Brikel EAD First Investment Bank Investbank Toplоfikatsia - Burgas EAD Toplоfikatsia - Pernik EAD Toplоfikatsia - Pleven EAD Toplоfikatsia - Ruse EAD Toplоfikatsia - Sliven EAD Toplоfikatsia - Veliko Tarnovo EAD Toplоfikatsia - Vratsa EAD TPP Bobov Dol TPP Maritsa 3