JUSTICE FOR PROPERTY INVESTORS IN BULGARIA
Between 2005 and 2007, approx 150 overseas investors (mainly British) invested millions of Euros in property at what was to be a 5 star luxury resort called Ibar Golf Club and Spa in Dolna Banya,Bulgaria complete with Nicklaus design golf course and full spa facilities. Investors were assured that the project had full support of the local authority who had a 30% stake in the venture and also the Bulgarian Government who awarded the site a First class Investors Certificate.
Approx 100 properties were completed and Notary deeds signed before a new Mayor was elected who has done all he can to prevent the project going forward by refusing to sign any of the necessary documentation. The project has therefore been at a standstill since 2007. The golf course is incomplete, there are no facilities, properties are not connected to the utilities, roads and infrastucture are not completed, and the site is a mess.
Since then there has been a bitter dispute between the Developers and the Local Municipality, neither of whom is prepared to compromise.
No matter what rights or wrongs there may be, it is the investors who are the innocent parties. In many cases, they invested their life savings, and in some cases took big loans to achieve their dream. The reality is that their properties are virtually unusable, and have no resale value.
Over the past two years, the owners have attempted to meet with the Mayor but he refuses to do so. Objections to proposed local planning details have not even been acknowledged. Owner representatives have met with officials from the British Embassy, the Bulgarian Governement and the Bulgarian Investment Agency, all of whom are sympathetic to their cause but have failed to take any adequate action to rectify the situation. Legal actions have hit brick walls within the Bulgarian legal system and even if they were successful it is doubtful whether the Developer would have any funds to pay compensation.
This is not a case of the Developer going bust as a result of the recession, it is a case where the local Bulgarian authority has treated investors with contempt and failed to meet its obligations. Equally, a national Bulgarian Agency has awarded this project a First Class Investor Certificate and enticed people to invest in this project without taking regard of the obvious problems. We, the undersigned, are appalled that a member country of the EU can treat foreign investors in this manner, and call upon EU representatives, and members of the Bulgarian authorities to take appropriate measures either to ensure the completion of the project or to ensure that all monies invested are returned.