Home Financial consultant Second Bulgarian politician exposed in Pandora Papers denies claims

Second Bulgarian politician exposed in Pandora Papers denies claims

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov with observers in the West Bank city of Hebron, November 4, 2015. Photo; EPA / ABED AL HASHLAMOUN

Nickolay Mladenov, former government minister, UN representative and member of the European Parliament, has been identified as the second Bulgarian politician to conceal offshore assets exposed in the Pandora Papers, journalist Atanas Chobanov from bird.bg, involved in the investigation, said.

Mladenov denied the allegations, saying he founded the company to develop a consulting practice that never worked due to his UN involvement.

Mladenov registered Afron Enterprises Ltd in Seychelles through Swiss agency SFM Corporate Services SA on August 9, 2013, seven days after being appointed UN Special Representative. Afron was closed in 2018.

“This business has never been active and no monetary transactions have been made through it,” Mladenov told bird.bg. He confirmed that he contacted Swiss agents for the process and insisted that despite the dates given, the company was established before his tenure at the UN began.

“The cabinet registration that appears under my name has never been active and has never carried out any financial transactions,” he said.

“In 2013, after the end of (my) mandate (as Minister of Foreign Affairs), I wanted to go freelance, to start afresh. I decided to register a company, through which I would work. I contacted Swiss financial advisers and started a correspondence. Then I got the offer from the UN and my plans changed, ”Mladenov added.

The UN said it had no record of Mladenov declaring such commercial activities.

This follows reports that the names of leaked documents bulgarian oligarch Delyan Peevski, who was questioned before the National Revenue Agency on October 6.

Mladenov was born in 1972 in Sofia in a family close to the communist regime. His father, Evtim Mladenov, was part of the crackdown ssecurity state apparatus and his uncle, Mladen, was an ambassador of the Communist era.

Despite his background, Mladenov’s own political career has been associated with the center-right. As a member of the United Democratic Forces, he was a Member of Parliament between 2001 and 2005.

From 2005 to 2007, he was a consultant to the World Bank, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, Bulgaria, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In 2007, he changed parties to the rising force of GERB, which became the dominant force in Bulgarian politics until early 2021. In the same year, he also became a member of the European Parliament, MEP.

In government, he was Minister of Defense (2009-2010) and Foreign Affairs (2010-2013). In 2013, he was appointed United Nations Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. He was then a mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict until the end of 2020.

A New York Times characteristic, as of January 2021, describes him as having “calmed Gaza, helped Israel’s Arab ties and preserved hopes for peace”, while liberal Israeli media Haaletz praised him as “one of the most effective UN envoys in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “a key mediator between Israel and Hamas”.

At that time, the Bulgarian media pointed to Mladenov as a potential successor to GERB supremo Boyko Borissov as prime minister, following growing discontent with GERB policies. The speculation was denied by Mladenov.

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