There is an old joke about some friends who feasted at a pub. At the end, of course, they asked for the bill. When the waiter brought it a heated argument began. One of the clients grumbled:
–What are these 23 lemonades here, we’ve had only beer! And how about this soufflé? We’ve had sausages and potatoes! And what is the meaning of “if it works“ at the bottom!– Well, it did not! –said the waiter.
‘If it works’ is an expression that to a certain extent reveals the creativity of a Bulgarian when he ‘comes up with’ frauds. Creativity that is usually encouraged by the system through absence of punishment. Elsewhere in Bulgaria such conduct may be qualified as “petty unsophisticated tricks played at village parties”. A similar move brought to the foreground the lawyers of Technomarket Bulgaria AD (Technomarket), waging an unyielding war for the real estate properties of Glorient Investment BG OOD (Glorient) that had been followed by our team at Terminal 3 from the very beginning. Somehow Technomarket managed to stop at first instance court in Plovdiv the enforcement proceedings for the rental payments due to Glorient by the shops of the same company in Pleven?! How and why the district court in Plovdiv has deliberated on the case, which has nothing in common with the relevant court region in Plovdiv, is a mystery. We have already discussed that since Delyan Peevski has become a major shareholder in Technomarket ( let us remind you that this is the company managing the business of shops with the brand name Technomarket), the chain has refused to pay rent for the properties owned by Glorient, where it is housed. The businessman-MP and emblem of the model #WHO, acting through his trade representatives and proxies, practically declared that the properties still belong to Technomarket and required that the Court should rule void the transactions by which in 2006 K & K Electronics EAD (former sole owner of the capital of Technomarket) sold the properties to Glorient. In August 2016 Peevski’s lawyers made a new move that was more than anticipated. Until recently it referred only to the storage area at 361 Tsarigradsko chaussee boulevard, but it is already an element of all cases concerning real estate properties subject to litigation between the two legal actors. The lawyers of Technomarket demanded also that the contract for rent of a warehouse of 21 000 m2 total built-up area should be declared void and that respectively Glorient should return the payment amounting to over 1 million Euro for the above mentioned storage area at Tsarigradsko chaussee boulevard. On July 20, 2016 Sofia City Court (SCC) admitted a security of a future claim from Technomarket against Glorient. By this act SCC in practice have stopped the enforcement proceedings against Technomarket for the rental payments due by the same company for the storage area to its owner.
After the same pattern the lawyers of Technomarket attacked in Plovdiv the enforcement proceedings for the overdue rentals for their site in Pleven. On August 12, 2016, 19-th trade section of Plovdiv District court, by Ruling 521/2016 admitted a security in favor of the plaintiff Technomarket against Glorient of a future claim for declaring void a rental contract signed between the parties on… 20 November 2006 (nearly 10 years ago!). Actually, the claim concerning the building in Pleven is an identical copy of the claim, whose subject is the storage area at No 361 Tsarigradsko Chaussee Boulevard in the capital city, on which Sofia City Court has issued a ruling. It is a technicality here that Technomarket and Glorient are companies based in Sofia and it is more than logical and natural that it is SCC that should make a pronouncement on a dispute between the two companies. Goodness only knows why Technomarket decided that they could try to “bring down” the enforcement proceedings for the overdue rentals of their shop in Pleven precisely in Plovdiv. Otherwise it will be logical for this case to be deliberated by SCC because both companies have their headquarters and business addresses in Sofia, or by the District Court of Pleven, where the subject of the dispute is located. Simply there is no apparent link between the Court of Plovdiv and this case. Kamelia Spasova, speaker of the District court of Plovdiv, made a comment that the institution is under no obligation of checking the local jurisdiction of the cases it is hearing. In her words, as long as the defendant (Glorient) has not filed an objection within the period stipulated by law, the Court is under no obliged to consider the issue concerning local jurisdiction. “Anybody may file such a case at which ever court they wish, it is not an official duty of the court to keep track of local jurisdiction, but if the counter party makes an objection that local jurisdiction has not been observed, only then the court has the obligation to make a pronouncement on such an objection.“ Spasova underlined that according to the Civil Procedure Code “in general” the court has to keep track of the so-called “generic jurisdiction“ – said in a popular way – i.e. whether the case is subject to the jurisdiction of a different court in the hierarchy. Well, it would have been good if Kamelia Spasova, speaker of the District Court in Plovdiv, had explained that the defendant does not participate in the security proceedings by definition and therefore there is no way to make an objection prior to issuance of the security order, but anyhow … obviously she had omitted that insignificant detail! In other words, the lawyers of Technomarket requested a security order for the shops in Pleven by the court in Plovdiv, just in case “it might work”.
At first instance the trick “worked“ but the lawyers of Glorient objected against the ruling of the District court before the Appellate Court in Plovdiv with one of their justifications being exactly that the admitted securitisation is not under the local jurisdiction of Plovdiv. In the opinion of lawyers a significant procedural breach is hidden in this fact. Naturally, the claim to the appellate instance contains numerous other causes. They, however, refer to much more complicated issues of legal nature in the proceeding, which are beyond the scope of this publication.
The mere fact that lawyer Geno Andreev is a member of the Board of Directors of Technomarket suggests that there is no way for the filing of request for securitisation order in Plovdiv to have been an “accidental error“ of the lawyers. Andreev has a rich professional biography. He often works in favor of Delyan Peevski. He and his partner Alexander Angelov, who used to be board member of “Levski“ football club, were involved in the transaction concerning the unfinished building of ‘Rodina’ Publishing and Printing Complex. Both of them represented the company managed by Irena Krasteva – Peevski’s mother. Andreev was also mentioned as a representative of an offshore company, which acquired Denis Ershov’s shares in “Petrol Holding“. Geno is son of Rumen Andreev, former investigator and ex-minister of the Interior (also a former member of the Supreme Judicial Council).
The District court in Plovdiv is still said to be “Sotir Tsatsarov’s court“. Prior to becoming Prosecutor General, Sotir Tsatsarov was chair of the District Court in Plovdiv. There have been many media publications linking the Prosecutor General with MRF MP Delyan Peevski. Moreover, there are allegations that Peevski has actively lobbied for Tsatsarov’s election. Similar information was also submitted to many foreign embassies of states with which Bulgaria has established partnership services such as the US embassy in Sofia. There is even a joke saying that actually Sotir Tsatsarov is not overweight but is simply a part of Peevski. Keeping all this in mind, it seems that “Technomarket” (the latter can be directly substituted for Peevski!) tried to step on “solid ground” in Plovdiv, waging the war for their shop in Pleven. This move, besides being a procedural breach, betrays the fact that “Technomarket“ have no arguments to present to a random court panel, so they are seeking a ruling in Plovdiv.
It is a matter of days to see whether the trick will also work before the Appellate Court in Plovdiv. Glorient’s claim was submitted to the latter on August 22. While the procedures are taking place, the Company is incurring losses. Each month Glorient is not able to collect rents equaling Euro 330 000 monthly from Technomarket of Peevski, while the final solution seems years ahead.