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Gazprom executives are to meet November 5 to consider the approval of certain transactions with the assets of South Stream Bulgaria, the Russian energy giant announced.

A 50-50 joint venture between Gazprom and the Bulgarian Energy Holding, South Stream Bulgaria AD was created to be responsible for the planning, construction and operation of South Stream's onshore section in Bulgaria, the first EU member on the pipeline's way.

South Stream Bulgaria halted the execution of the contract for the pipeline's construction after being instructed by the EU commission, the statement reminds.

However, it went on with certain activities despite a ban issued by interim Economy Minister Vasil Shtonov early in August.

It also voted to boost its capital to BGN 397.6 M days after Shtonov's warnings.

Earlier in August Stoytransgaz, the company to build South Stream's onshore section in Bulgaira, pulled out, announcing Gazprom's subsidiary Centrgaz was a likely replacement.

Kosovo's head of state Atifete Jahjaga has received Bobi Bovev, the Bulgarian Ambassador, to mark the end of his mandate.

President Jahjaga has thanked him for his contribution and has expressed gratitude for the friendliness of Bulgaria and its citizens "who have stood close to the people of Kosovo during the most difficult times and at every step of the consolidation of the democratic state of Kosovo," according to a statement on the President of the Republic of Kosovo's website.

Jahjaga has also asserted Pristina is willing to further deepen cooperation with Sofia in economy and trade.

Bobi Bobev has been Bulgaria's envoy to the Republic of Kosovo since 2010.

Prior to that he represented Bulgaria in Albania from 1998 to 2006.

Bulgaria's Ministry of Economy is seeking to ensure the Varna Thermal Power Station will remain operational despite not having complied with European norms, the institution said in a statement.

The ministry believes that Varna TPP, the second-largest thermal station in Bulgaria and on the Balkans, is necessary both on a national level (safeguarding security of supplies) and on a regional level.

Authorities urge the plant's owners to make the investment needed for its modernization and the fulfillment of environmental norms.

Under EU rules, Varna TPP, owned by CEZ Razpredelenie-Balgaria (the Bulgarian branch of Czech-based electricity company CEZ) should be upgraded by end-2014.

Otherwise it has to be closed down on January 1.

Nikolay Nikolov, and Georgi Matsin, director and deputy director of a regional unit of Bulgaria's Automobile Administration Executive Agency (AAEA), have been charged with abuse of office.

The prosecuting authority also pressed charges against an owner of a transport company, Ilko Iliev.

The three were arrested for a period of up to 72 hours in an operation of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office and the State Agency for National Security (DANS).

The offences were committed in the period July – October 2014.

Nikolov faces three charges, including soliciting and receiving a bribe of BGN 4000, soliciting and receiving a bribe of BGN 1000, and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Matsin faces charges of abetting Nikolov in receiving a bribe of BGN 1000.

Iliev faces charges of abetting Nikolov in soliciting and receiving a bribe of BGN 4000 and of unlawful possession of ammunition.

The Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office has requested that the Plovdiv District Court order the three defendants remanded in custody.

Sofia should transfer an additional EUR 7 M installment to EU's budget, the EU Commission announced Friday.

The new estimates are based on a recently-adopted model which uses revenues from income tax and GDP growth to set the amount of money each member state should send to Brussels.

Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and even Greece (with EUR 90 M in a) will also have to make fresh contributions as their economic development in 2014 was better than expected.

However, all their sums are small if compared to that of the UK, which not has to give EUR 2.1 B more, with the ruling provoking tensions between Brussels and London.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to oppose what he describes as a "completely unjustified and unacceptable" extra EU budget bill worth EUR 2.1 B.

As the row unfolded during the second day of the European Council summit in Brussels, Cameron pledged to use "every way possible" to prevent the payment of London's new bill.



He pointed a finger at the new EU Commission, which was approved by European Parliament earlier this week, blaming it for not delivering "satisfactory answers" about the new budget calculations, according to the EUObserver.

"It is an unacceptable way to treat a country which is one of the biggest contributors to the EU."

"We are not going suddenly to get out our cheque book and write a cheque for 2bn euros. It is not going to happen," the BBC quoted him as saying.

Under the latest estimates London would have to give some 20% more than it does on an annual basis. Britain, which is the EU's second-largest economy, has also seen bigger recent GDP growth than projected.

At the same time a number of member states, including Germany and France, will see tranches of their installment transferred back to them, with some EUR 780 M to be returned to Berlin and over EUR 1 B to Paris.

Combined with EU officials' failure to explain how precisely the new estimates are made, the row has triggered another budget meeting scheduled for November on which the matter should be settled among finance ministers member states.

The EU's gross output has turned out to be some 2.5% up than what was previously thought after the new method, including a range of areas (also drugs trade and prostitution), was applied by Eurostat, Europe's statistics body.

The Plovdiv District Prosecutor’s Office has pressed charges against the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Brezovo Municipality, the Municipal Secretary, and a banking official in a case concerning numerous flawed attestations by a notary.

The four were arrested in a special operation of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) on Thursday.

The defendants have been released on bail.

The Mayor of the Brezovo Municipality, Radnyo Manolov, has been imposed a bail of BGN 5000, while Deputy Mayor Dimitar Tomov and Municipal Secretary Stoyna Maleshkova have been released on a bail of BGN 1000, and Stoyanka Stoyanova, head of a local office of the DSK Bank, has been imposed a bail of BGN 2000, according to a media statement of the prosecuting authority, as cited by dnevnik.bg.

The defendants have been charged with forging notarial attestationsof transactions with sums accumulated in pension funds.

At least 114 notarial attestations of signatures took place at the Brezovo Municipality in the period January 17, 2014 – October 2, 2014.

Over 130 witnesses have been questioned so far and the investigation into the case continues.

Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry has assured that it is not developing a framework or project for the merger of the National Revenue Agency (NRA) and the Customs Agency.

A media statement of the Finance Ministry informs that the caretaker government lacks the competence to adopt such a decision.

“The preparation for such large-scale administrative reform involves a broad public debate and consultations with all interested parties.

The implementation of such a merger, which would affect a large number of natural and legal persons, as well as influencing the administration of revenues from customs duties, taxes and obligatory insurance payments, requires a detailed preliminary analysis. The analysis is to touch upon the legislative basis, the structures, functions, and activities of the revenue authorities. It should also provide an assessment of the impact of the measure, as well as research into the practices of other EU Member States and third countries in the sphere,” Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry says.

The construction of the third metro line in Bulgaria's Sofia could be delayed over appeals lodged against a decision of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Sofia chief architect Petar Dikov said.

"The project for the third metro line was scrutinized and subjected to many public hearings. A number of meetings were held with the participation of many civic councils and experts. There are two appeals (...) which are the result of a misunderstanding rather than a genuine concern for the environmental impact of the third metro line. Hopefully, this is not done in order to intentionally delay its construction,” Dikov said, as quoted by Focus news agency.

According to him, the main reasons for the appeals are that the construction of the metro line will disrupt the natural course of groundwater, springs, etc.

"These appeals could delay the construction, but I rely on the common sense of the applicants. We will initiate a meeting with them and everyone will be able to put forward their arguments. The case is scheduled for late April, but it is clear that if there is a legal proceeding, it will take more than one hearing," Dikov explained.

The construction of the third metro line in Sofia will start with the stretch between Yanko Sakazov boulevard and Borovo district. It would be the most technologically complicated part of the route and will be financed by the EU Transport and Transport Infrastructure program 2014-2020.

Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) met on Friday representatives of Vienna-based fund EPIC, Oman's state fund and London-based Gemcorp, the central bank said in a statement.

During the talks held at the BNB's headquarters, the three investors declared they were in talks with the government and parliamentary represented political forces to draft a recapitalization plan for Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB or Corpbank).

Their idea includes state aid to save the bank.

Officials from the BNB reminded the newly-formed consortium that plans for recapitalization should come hand in hand with an evidence that the assets to be pumped into KTB are available and at disposal, the statement reads.

Deadlines and tools used to fulfill the investment plans will also have to be clearly stated by the consortium.

The three entities have demanded from the BNB access to the auditors' report on Corpbank's books prepared by AFA OOD, Deloitte Bulgaria OOD and Ernst & Young Audit OOD.

A summary of the audit's results was made public by the central bank on Wednesday this week revealing BGN 4.2 B of impairment costs on KTB's balance sheet. Dismissed KTB directors have called the report "a lampoon".

The BNB for its part is unable to grant access to the document without the auditors' consent, but has promised to cooperate.

Gemcorp was founded earlier this year by Atanas Bostandzhiev, the former CEO of VTB Capital who stepped down during the summer.

Bostandzhiev, who resigned briefly after the developments in KTB in mid-June, also claims his fund has already secured USD 500 M worth of financing.

Corpbank was placed under conservatorship after its liquidity was depleted by a bank run.

Bulgaria has applied for assistance under the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for coping with the flood damage in the northwestern regions of Vidin and Vratsa.

Bulgaria’s northwestern region suffered flood damage worth EUR 77.5 M in the period July 31 - August 2, 2014, according to the press office of the Ministry of Regional Development.

The aid application was submitted on October 23 by the Chief Directorate “Programming and Regional Development” of the Ministry of Regional Development.

The European Commission is to review the application within six weeks.

In the case of a positive decision, the EC is to calculate the amount of aid which Bulgaria can receive for coping with the flood damage.

 

The EU's aim to curtail carbon emissions by 40 percent and boost green energy's share in the mix by 27 percent, adopted Friday, can also be accomplished by Bulgaria, President Rosen Plevneliev said.

Plevneliev, who is attending a European Council meeting in Brussels, told other EU heads of state that Bulgaria would stick to the 2030 target which is ambitious, but is worth fulfilling, the Bulgarian National Radio reports him as saying.

"These targets... correspond to our strategic and national interest. We assigned [EU member states] goals to [ensure] network connectivity... of interconnection... we set very clearly the direction for common electricity and gas markets, which would bring about competitive prices, i.e. lower prices. We should bear in mind that we are still paying the highest price for gas in Europe," Plevneliev explained.

The President pointed out funding under EU programs would play a crucial role toward fulfilling the new energy targets.

A number of lower-income countries managed to secure additional funding during the EC session to further cut greenhouse gases and increase the share of renewable energy.

Friday's meeting has led to lower targets than what countries in Western Europe demanded, as Central and Eastern European member states rejected a more ambitions program, warning it could pose a risk to their economies.

The number of interconnection links among member states will now also be increased.

Leaders have stated their commitment to the Southern Gas Corridor, a gas pipeline project expected to deliver gas from the Caspian Sea region.

The Southern Gas Corridor is a rival to South Stream, which will bring Russian gas to Austria and Italy via Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary.

A total of 15 126 people were not allowed to cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border since the beginning of 2014, Interior Ministry Chief Secretary Svetlozar Lazarov told journalists at a joint press conference with caretaker Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov.

Four thousand people were apprehended by the Turkish authorities, after being alerted by Bulgaria's border patrols and more than 3000 were placed in immigrant centres.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of the year the police apprehended 472 citizens of various countries who were involved in human trafficking in Bulgaria, according to Bakalov who presented with Lazarov the interim results of the nationwide police operation against illegal immigrants.

During the operation on Friday were checked mostly hotels and hostels known to house immigrants. Only in Sofia were checked the documents of more than 500 people, of which were arrested 107 – for missing or invalid documents.

A total of 118 illegal immigrants were arrested across the country, including those in Sofia. Police checked 1554 sites and more than 4000 people.

“Such operations will become more frequent,” Bakalov pledged.

Ivan Totev, Mayor of the Plovdiv Municipality, has signed a contract with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for a loan of around BGN 30 M.

The money will be used for the repair and reconstruction of the Komatevsko Shose Street and the boulevards Ruski and 6-ti Septemvri, as well as the construction of a new road from the Adata Bridge over the Maritsa River to Brezovsko Shose Street, according to reports of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA).

The funding is to be absorbed in 3 years and repaid to the EBRD in 15 years at an interest rate of 2.65% and 1.18% Euribor and a 3-year grace period.

Complaints over the contractor selection process will be filed directly to the EBRD.

The document was signed by Jean-Patrick Marquet from the EBRD, who noted that the bank would exercise control over the implementation of public procurement deals and the absorption of funding.

Hungary could become the world's first country to levy usage of the Internet after its Economy Minister Mihály Varga proposed the move on Wednesday.

A fee of HUF 150 (EUR 0.48) will be imposed on providers for each 1GB of Internet data if the plans are approved.

The measure is not envisaged to affect the consumer, but could possibly push providers to announce bill hikes.

EU officials promptly responded, with EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes warning against a negative impact on the country's digital economy and increasing prices for consumers.

Vargas however explained that the tax was similar to that paid for phone calls and text messages that entered into force after a government decision in 2011, according to German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Another official later added telecom services had not become more expensive after Budapest opted to charged them in 2012.

Reacting to negative comments on social media, Fidesz, the governing party of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, announced a cap would be imposed on household taxes for Internet amounting to HUF 700 (EUR 2.27) on a monthly basis.

Authorities hope to collect at least HUF 20 B (EUR 65 M) in revenues in 2015 if the tax is introduced.

The opposition however believes levying the Internet would make Hungarians return to the 1990s in terms of Internet accessibility.

A number of controversial fees and taxes have been passed by Hungary's Fidesz-dominated Parliament, purportedly aimed at boosting public finances and eradicating poverty.

Taxes on banks, but also on media advertisement (the latter mostly affecting foreign-owned RTL Klub) have recently provoked a public outcry.

The water level of the river Osam in the north-central Bulgarian city of Lovech increased by 1 meter in the last day due to the pouring rains that hit the region.

The level of the Vit River in the town of Teteven has also risen, Bulgarian National Radio informs. The greatest amount of rain has fallen in the village of Chiflik - 58 liters per square meter and in the town of Apriltsi in the Lovech Province - 51 l/sq m.

Two neighborhoods in Apriltsi were left in the dark after the Vidima river flooded the road at the entrance of the town. The situation there has normalized.

Earlier Friday the river Belitsa near the northern Bulgarian town of Kilifarevo overflowed due to the torrential rains. Currently, there are no damaged homes, Dnevnik informs.

Hristo Monev, Deputy Chair of the Supervisory Board of Danube Bridge 2 Vidin – Calafat AD, has suggested that the car tolls could be reduced by 50%.

In a Friday interview for the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), Monev informed that a 50% reduction in car tolls to EUR 3 was feasible, taking into account the fact that monthly revenues stood at EUR 1 M, of which 5%, or EUR 50 000, were car tolls, on which VAT was levied in both directions.

He claimed that the measure would boost car traffic along Danube Bridge 2, making car toll rates equal to the rates at Danube Bridge 1 Ruse – Giurgiu.

Monev specified that Bulgarian carriers accounted for the biggest group of freight vehicles to cross Danube Bridge 2 in both directions, at 60-65% of the total, followed by Polish carriers, at 12-14%, Turkish carriers at 8-10%, and Romanian carriers at 5-6%.

He added that monthly revenues from tolls collected at Danube Bridge 2 in both directions amounted to EUR 850 000 – EUR 1.25 million.

He also noted that over 500 000 vehicles had crossed the bridge in both directions in the period June 15, 2013 - end-September 2014, stressing that statistics confirmed the forecasts made by the different consultants.

Monev emphasized that the total number of cars which had crossed the bridge in the period July - September 2014 had increased by 25-30% on an annual basis.

He also explained that freight vehicles weighing over 12 tonnes accounted for 40-45% of the total traffic along Danube Bridge 2.

Monev announced that a new passenger train would start running along the route Sofia-Vidin-Budapest in early winter and expressed hopes that it would be busier than the existing line Craiova – Golentsi – Vidin.


At 4 AM on Sunday the clocks will be set one hour back, reminds the Meteorological Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Thus the country returns to astronomical time until the last Saturday of March.

Bulgaria's courts will be flooded by “an avalanche of lawsuits” with connection to the Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), Bulgaria's Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev told the BNR public broadcaster.

According to him, the deposits with preferential interest rates would pose a problem, as they, by law, are not covered by the Deposit Guarantee Fund. “Then there would be the people with deposits above EUR 100 000,” Penchev commented. “How come you bankrupted this bank – four months you did nothing to save it and deliberately kept it shut – they would ask.”

Penchev admitted that as a private citizen he believes nothing he hears about KTB. According to him, in those four months people have been lied to and have been fed contradicting information. “Let alone the years in which this bank grew and grew and increased its capital three-four times, protected by the politicians,” Penchev said.

Penchev noted that if the audit report turns out to be true, the Central Bank (BNB) must take away the license of KTB immediately. “The initial reports were optimistic,” he said. “Then, after four months of silence from BNB, suddenly turns out KTB was not a bank, but a black hole. Is it hard to tell the difference between a bank and a black hole?”

A special police operation against persons residing in Bulgaria without authorisation is underway on the territory of the country.

The operation was ordered by Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov and caretaker Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov, according to reports of the Interior Ministry.

The operation involves all district prosecutor’s offices and district police departments, the Migration Directorate of the Interior Ministry, as well as special police forces.

The authorities are checking sites believed to accommodate persons residing in Bulgaria without authorisation, including hostels, hotels, etc.

According to data of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, a total of 531 people have been checked, with 107 people without documents or authorization to stay in Bulgaria arrested so far on Sofia territory.

The authorities also found three Bulgarian nationals who had been wanted by the police.

On a national scale, the authorities inspected a total of 1035 sites and 2742 people and arrested 113 people by 11 am.

The operation started at 6.30 am and is still underway.

The European Commission has announced EUR 24.4M from the EU budget for urgently needed Ebola research.

The funding will go to five projects, ranging from a large-scale clinical trial of a potential vaccine, to testing existing and novel compounds to treat Ebola. The money from Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation program, will be provided via a fast-track procedure in order to start work as soon as possible.

The Commission is also working with industry on the further development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for Ebola and other haemorrhagic diseases within the Innovative Medicines Initiative.

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso said: "We're in a race against time on Ebola, and we must address both the emergency situation and at the same time have a long term response. I am therefore happy to announce that additional funding of EUR 24.4 million will be made available which will speed up some of the most promising research to develop vaccines and treatments."

The Commission has also asked the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) to include emerging epidemics of concern to Africa, including Ebola, in its work plan. This will allow EDCTP to fund clinical trials on drugs, vaccines and diagnostics in upcoming calls.

The announcement came as the WHO hosted a high level meeting in Geneva Thursday, involving the international community and industry representatives.

The European Commission alone has so far pledged EUR 180 million of humanitarian and development aid to help the countries affected by the epidemic.

Antoaneta Vasileva, wife of Tsvetan Vasilev – majority owner of troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) was questioned in the Sofia Investigation Service in connection to a money laundering investigation, reports Dnevnik.bg.

She was summoned as a witness in the case investigating the purchase of a CHF 20 M house at the shore of the Geneva lake by herself and her husband.

According to Vasileva's lawyer Menko Menkov, Vasileva presented documents proving that her husband provided CHF 10 M – declared income with paid taxes. Vasileva took the other half as a credit from a Swiss bank, mortgaging the house.

Upon leaving the Investigation Service building, Menkov told journalists the property was a single room, unfurnished building of 200 sq m with a leaking roof, which most likely would be distrained by the bank.

Bulgaria is determined to rescue the Varna thermal power plant, according to Anton Pavlov, Deputy Minister of Economy.

Pavlov participated Friday in a conference titled "GREAT Energy Summit" in Prague organized by the British Embassy Prague and the British Embassy Sofia.

During his visit to Prague, Pavlov met with the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Jan Mladek, according to reports of Standard daily.

A key topic on the agenda of the meeting was the recent disagreements between power distributor CEZ Bulgaria and the state, and the future of the Varna TPP in particular.

The Varna TPP is to be closed by end-2014, but there is an option for it to keep it functioning after undergoing upgrades which make it compatible with environmental standards.

Pavlov and Mladek agreed to establish a joint working group once the two countries had formed governments (the Czech Republic is holding elections this weekend) in order to iron out problems.

Pavlov claimed that it was essential for the Varna TPP to keep functioning in order to guarantee the stability of power supplies in the entire region.

He pointed out that the Varna-based thermal power plant gained crucial importance in the winter season when the power consumption went up.

Pavlov added that the Varna TPP would become a much-needed unit if Bulgaria was hit by a gas crisis in winter.

He did not rule out the option of the state buying back the Varna TPP in the case of failure to reach agreement with CEZ Bulgaria on its upgrade.

The market price index of dwellings for Q3 2014 compared to Q2 2014 was 99.9%, i.e. the average decrease of the market prices of dwellings was 0.1%, according to Bulgaria's Statistical Institute.

The market price index of the dwellings for the third quarter of 2014 in comparison with the corresponding quarter of the previous year was 100.4%, i.e. the average increase of the market prices of the dwellings was 0.4%.

In the third quarter of 2014 compared to the previous one, a price decrease was recorded in 19 district centers and in Sofia district.

The decrease was more considerable in Kyustendil - by 2.5%, Pernik – by 2.4% and Razgrad - by 1.9%.

In 8 district centers a price increase was recorded. In the third quarter of 2014 the average market price of the dwellings for the whole country was BGN 868.77/sq. m.

The highest average prices were recorded in the following district centers: Sofia – BGN 1 485.67/sq. m, followed by Varna – BGN 1 378.33/sq. m and Burgas – BGN 1 145.33/sq. m.

The US Progress Software Corporation announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Bulgaria's leading software developing company Telerik AD for USD 262.5 M, said the corporation in a press release.

Telerik was founded in 2002 by four graduates of the American University in Bulgaria and the Technical University of Sofia.

Its core business is development of application development tools, but is most well known to the general public in Bulgaria for its Telerik Academy – series of free courses for school children, students and other people who have little or no experience in software development and want to pursue a career in the field.

 Telerik's revenue for the last twelve months was over USD 60 M, with annual bookings growth of over 20%.

As of 2013, Telerik has 800 employees in nine offices in seven countries across four continents. 

"User experience is defining the way application software is being selected. Telerik's strength is in helping developers create elegant, custom user interfaces for their cloud, web-based and on-premise applications," said Phil Pead, Progress CEO, quoted by the media statement.

"Building applications today is truly complex. Developers also must deal with security, scaling, massive amounts of data and the ability to deploy on a large number of different devices. Together, Progress and Telerik can help to solve these issues so that developers can focus on building software that solves business problems."

Bulgaria’s gross foreign debt totalled EUR 38.2B as of end-August, increasing 2.2% from a year earlier and 2.3% higher compared with end-2013, the central bank has said.

Gross foreign debt was equivalent to 94.3% of projected 2014 Gross Domestic Product as of end-August, the Bulgarian National Bank said in a statement on Thursday.

Long-term debt amounted to EUR 29.2B at end-August 2014, growing by 5.1% from end-2013. On a year-on-year basis, long-term debt increased by 8.2%.

Short-term debt was EUR 8.99B, decreasing by 5.8% from end-2013. Compared with August 2013, short-term debt dropped by 13.4%.

General government gross foreign debt totalled EUR 4.8B at end-August, growing by 40% from end-2013 mainly due to the issue of global bonds by the government that were held by non-residents. Compared with August 2013, general government gross foreign debt increased by 45.2%. 

Bulgaria’s gross foreign debt service in the first eight months of the year totalled EUR 2.8B equivalent to 6.9% of 2014 projected GDP.This compared with EUR 4.0B (10.1% of GDP) in January-August 2013. 

Net foreign debt (gross external debt less gross assets in foreign debt instruments) totalled EUR 13.9B at the end of August, falling by 5.6% from end-2013 due to the larger increase in gross external assets (by 7.5%) compared with the 2.3% rise in gross foreign debt.

Bulgarian Red Cross expects a refugee wave, and is properly preparing to face it, Hristo Grigorov, head of the organization said, Friday, Darik news reports.

He explained that currently the refugee situation in the country is under control.

Bulgaria's Red Cross (BRC) is concerned that in the last two months between 160 000 and 200 000 people entered Turkey. That is a big burden for the country, said Hristo Grigorov. According to him, if the situation in Turkey is not under control, this means that many refugees will want to pass through Bulgaria on their way to other European countries. The BRC is currently in a state of disaster preparedness.

Regarding the emergency aid operations Hristo Grigorov noted that for the first time the corporate business and the retail chains have been extremely active in providing assistance in all Bulgarian regions. Grigorov was adamant that the Red Cross humanitarian aid is distributed under strict control and any misuse is out of the question.

Sweden on Friday called off its search for a suspected foreign submarine in the sea south of Stockholm.

The week-long operation reminiscent of the days of the Cold War had been investigating what the Swedish military called "foreign underwater activities". According to Swedish media reports, the country’s Navy vessels and patrol aircraft had been searching the Stockholm archipelago for a suspected damaged Russian submarine.

Sweden’s Armed Forces said in a statement Navy vessels and amphibious forces have been ordered to end their search and have returned to base but some ground forces will remain in the area.

Russia has denied any of its Navy vessels was involved after Swedish media last week carried allegations emergency radio calls in Russian were intercepted.

A Russian Defence Ministry spokesman on Friday said Sweden's naval  mobilisation raised tensions in the Baltic and may result in “undermining the foundations of marine economic activity in the region”.

“The chances to find Russian trace in this area are slim to none,” according to the spokesman.

The Swedish naval mobilisation was the largest since the 1980s when the country frequently conducted hunts for suspected Russian submarines along its Baltic Sea coast.

Sweden started dismantling its anti-submarine force after the end of the Cold War as part of cuts in the country’s defence spending and shift in focus from territorial defence to international peacekeeping operations.

 

 

A Bulgarian national was sentenced to 30 months in jail in the US on Thursday for participation in Shadowcrew, a virtual online marketplace for malicious hacking and identity theft.

Aleksi Kolarov, 32, operated the site along with 18 co-conspirators, using it to sell illicit merchandise and services to other members, nj.com said.

According to US federal authorities, the Shadowcrew members were dedicated to computer hacking and the dissemination of stolen credit card, debit card and bank account numbers and fake identification documents.

Kolarov was arrested in 2011 in Paraguay in an unrelated fraud case carrying counterfeit payment cards, electronic devices to re-encode cards and hundreds of thousands of dollars in various currencies. The arrest was made after banks in Paraguay reported suspicious activity involving several foreign debit cards from Italy, Switzerland and Germany.

He served two years in jail in Paraguay before he was extradited to the US last year to face charges in federal court for participation in cybercrime message board. In February 2014, Kolarov pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit identity theft and access device fraud in court in Newark.

According to US authorities, Shadowcrew trafficked in at least 1.5 million stolen credit and bank card numbers and caused more than USD 4M in losses to the institutions issuing the cards, cliffviewpilot.com said.

The Shadowcrew website also contained a number of sub-forums where the latest information about hacking tricks, social engineering, credit card fraud, virus development, scams, and phishing could be found.

The US Attorney's office said Shadowcrew was the world’s largest illegal marketplace for hacking and identity theft when dismantled by the Department of Justice and the US Secret Service.

Of 19 charged in the Shadowcrew case, 16 including Kolarovhave pleaded guilty since US authorities stumbled on the cybercrime ring in 2004. Three others are still at large.

 

 

GERB will complete the second round of consultations over potential formation of a government coalition with talks with Socialists on Friday.

Centre-right GERB, which won most votes in Bulgaria’s October 5 early elections but remained short of outright majority, had picked four of the other seven political formations represented in the new Parliament for the second round of consultations.

On Thursday, GERB held talks with left-wing ABV party and the nationalist Patriotic Front.

On Tuesday, the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Mihail Mikov said they will take part on a second round of consultations over forming a government coalition if GERB extended an invitation for meaningful political negotiations.

Also on Tuesday, right-wing Reformist Bloc said after a meeting with GERB that had not been announced in advance that they and GERB had come one step closer to а coalition agreement.

 

 

A doctor who had worked in West Africa has tested positive for Ebola at New York City hospital on 23 October.

Officials told a news conference that Craig Spencer, 33, was admitted to Bellevue Hospital with symptoms consistent with those caused by Ebola. According to the results of a preliminary test Spencer has the virus.

The physician, who had been treating patients with Ebola while working with charity Doctors Without Bordersin Africa, arrived back in New York City from Guinea on 17 October via Europe.

He travelled on the New York subway, visited a park and took a taxi in the past week before displaying symptoms of the deadly disease. The recent Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa since March, mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. 

Medical authorities in New York had quarantined Spencer’s fiancée and two friends. Spencer, who left Guinea on 14 October, is the first person to test positive for Ebola in New York City and the fourth in the United States.

According to officials, the chances of contracting the disease just by being near someone who has Ebola are slim because the virus is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference that "there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed".

"Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract. New Yorkers who have not been exposed to an infected person's bodily fluids are not at risk," de Blasio said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the Spencer case wasn't "an unexpected circumstance."

"Ebola right now can spread fear just by the sound of the word," Cuomo said at the news conference. "But the more facts you know the less frightening the situation is."

After keeping the Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) in a coma for four months, yesterday Bulgaria's Central Bank (BNB) presented to the public an irresponsible lampoon, not a professional audit analysis, said the suspended KTB executive directors in an open letter to the media.

They added the letter is part of a more detailed statement, due to be released on Friday.

“BNB demonstrates either blatant unfamiliarity with the law, or an undisguised manipulation of the public,” reads the letter, published by the BGNES wire service.

According to the KTB directors, the BNB report was misguiding the public “in due order”.

“The Central Bank published informal, unbinding opinions of the consulting audit companies who have no legal value and who are not provided for in the law regarding the conservatorship regime,” the directors write.

According to the KTB directors, the report that found a BGN 4.2 B impairment on KTB balance sheet, was not an official audit, as according to the agreement among the three audit companies and BNB their reports were “not an audit under the International Standards on Auditing” and the auditors “are not bound and assume no responsibility for the reports and the conclusions in them”.

This, according to the KTB directors, meant the audit reports could not be used as a basis for any decisions on the future of KTB, could not be used by anyone else but BNB and could not be deemed an evidence in an investigation.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria's caretaker deputy PM Ekaterina Zaharieva told the BNT public broadcaster that the government is surprised by the size of the impairment.

She suggested that foreign experts be hired to seek the missing money.

“Those BGN 4.2 B did not buy houses and airplanes,” she said. “There are foreign specialists, who can trace the money and we should use them. There are many examples of successful outcomes across the world.”

Bulgaria will not give in to someone else's suggestions when setting up its new government said in Brussels Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev, reports the Club Z website.

Plevneliev's comments came in response to a reporter's question referring to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) party president Guy Verhofstadt who declared that the worst possible outcome of the ongoing coalition talks in Bulgaria would be a cabinet with the participation of nationalist formations like the Patriotic Front and the Ataka party.

Plevneliev pointed out that the setup of Bulgaria's government will not be “because someone from Brussels wished or demanded it, but because currently Bulgaria is walking the path seeking the solutions to its problems and it goes through a pro-European and pro-democratic coalition government with a clear action plan.”

“For me it is most important that the Bulgarian politicians comply with the vote of the Bulgarian citizens and the national interest,” said Plevneliev shortly before the start of the Heads of States meeting at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels.

In his statement Plevneliev commended the manner in which the coalition negotiations are conducted and said he hoped they will be succesful.

“Whether it will be a grand coalition, a wide coalition, a centre-right coalition is something that is up to the parties to decide, but it is most important that it is based on clear principles. They will be clearly pro-European, because this is what the people voted for and what the economy and the business require.”

The deposits in Bulgaria's banks grew by BGN 531 M in September, shows data of the Bulgarian National Bank.

This is the second consecutive month with growth, after the summer bank troubles when depositors were withdrawing large sums.

At the same time the lending activities remain relatively weak – in September the banks gave BGN 342 M in credits.

The share of bad credits, which have not been paid for more than 90 days has increased to 22.8%, amounting to BGN 9.925 B - mostly due to company credits. According to BNB the hike is caused by the suspension of all activities of Corporate Commercial Bank.

In spite the summer bank troubles, the data shows that the households retain their trust in the banks. According to the BNB data, in September the households and the business deposited around BGN 200 M each.

The household deposits in September reached BGN 39.183 B, those of the non-government sector – BGN 58.91 B and the non-financial enterprises – BGN 16.211 B.

The Sofia Appellate Court confirmed the three-and-a-half years jail sentence for Oktay Enimehmedov who pointed a gas pistol at the head of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) honorary chairman Ahmed Dogan in January 2013.

The second instance, just as the first, acquitted Enimehmedov of attempted murder and sentenced him for hooliganism and threat to murder.

On January 19, 2013, Enimehmedov pointed a gas pistol at the head of Dogan while he was delivering his resignation speech at a party conference and tried to shoot, but the pistol jammed.

The right-centre GERB and the nationalist Patriotic Front reached an agreement on coalition support for the new government.

During the three-hour meeting between GERB leader Boyko Borisov and Patriotic Front leaders Valeri Simeonov and Krasimir Karakachanov on Thursday afternoon the parties agreed that the Front will support the GERB programme without necessarily getting ministerial seats.

“We agreed that they (the Patriotic Front) will sign the GERB governance programme, but not at the price of personal involvement in the next government,” Rumyana Bachvarova of the GERB negotiation team told journalists. “We will continue discussing the form of the common governance. At the first meeting we discussed the priorities, today we discussed 94 specifici suggestions from the Patriotic Front programme and I think it was a very fruitful discussion.”

According to Bachvarova, the discussions on the matters on which agreement was not yet reached, will continue in a working group format. “We have a common opinion on the most important matters such as the country's financial stability, the energy sector and the future of the Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB).”

“We are literally on the verge of eventual signing of a programme for stable governance,” Valeri Simeonov told journalists after the meeting. “It is more important for us to have a document and this is the first step of assuming our responsibility – to sign the programme and support it and follow closely its implementation.”

According to Simeonov, the political council of the Front decided that no political figures are going to participate in the government.

Bulgaria only lags behind Spain as Russians' choice to spend their holiday, a Russian survey says.

"Europe was less popular in 2014 if compared to Turkey and Egypt. The drop in demand was registered as early as in spring. This was why tourist operators optimized the summer program, trying to conform it to the real tourist demand," the operator TUI Russia's website informed Thursday.

Compared to 2013 Russians have often preferred cheaper hotels offering a good correlation between quality and price.

Holidays in Spain's Mallorca and Ibiza have remained popular throughout the entire season, while mainland Spain registered the opposite trend, performing well below expectations.

Bulgaria's tourist resorts have shown good results over the entire season, TUI Russia has added.

Italy and Montenegro are also among Russians' top destinations.

Differences remain between conservative GERB and left-wing ABV and the latter will not take part in the government, ABV's Ivaylo Kalfin said Thursday.

Speaking to journalists after a second round of negotiations between the two parties, Kalfin however added his party would throw its support behind certain policies offered by the center-right party of Boyko Borisov.

In the joint statement of GERB and ABV after their closed-door talks the two parties underscored their agreement "in principle" on policies in areas such as the judiciary and security.

Kalfin, on the other hand, reiterated his party's proposal that a grand coalition be formed with the participation of Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

GERB and ABV failed to agree on taxation and budget, with conservatives insisting the current tax legislation should remain untouched, while the left-wing party supports the introduction of the progressive tax system.

Negotiations are to be held with the nationalist coalition called Patriotic Front later on Thursday.

Two more parties, the BSP and the right-wing Reformist Bloc, were picked by GERB for the second round of consultations to form a government.

Reformists supprisingly met GERB's leader Borisov at his party's headquarters on Tuesday, while no specific date has been set for talks with socialists.

GERB has often described the right-wing coalition as its "most natural" partner.

The conservatives, who won October 5's snap poll, are expected to be handed out a mandate to from a government after Parliament is convened next Monday.

A total of eight parties made it into the National Assembly after the vote, with many experts and political leaders themselves predicting long and difficult negotiations.

Greek company Aktor, which is building Lot 4 of the Struma motorway, is to sign an annex to the contract by Friday, or have the agreement cancelled, according to Bulgaria’s caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.

Zaharieva explains in an interview for 24 Hours Daily that that Bulgaria will start a procedure to terminate the contract unless Aktor returns the annex signed by Friday.

The motorway section from Sandanski to Kulata was supposed to be completed a long time ago.

The deadline was first extended by 200 days and then by another 52 days due to the rainy weather this summer, according to dnevnik.bg.

An inspection revealed recently that no construction works were underway at the site.

Greek Aktor, the company tasked with building the motorway section, is to sign an annex obliging it to complete one of the lanes by end-2014 and the other one by March 2015.

In her interview for 24 Hours daily, Zaharieva also emphasizes the importance of the finalization of the Hemus motorway for the economy of northeastern Bulgaria.

Canadian police have identified the suspected gunman who killed a soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before being shot dead by a security guard on Wednesday.

The suspect was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, a Canadian national who had recently converted to Islam, Reuters quoted US government sources as saying.

According to Canadian media reports, he dreamed of travelling to the Middle East to study Arabic.

The suspected gunman, who was killed in a shoot-out inside the parliament building opposite Parliament Hill by a security guard, was reportedly known to Canadian authorities  as “a high-risk traveller”, meaning it was feared he would travel to foreign countries to commit crimes, according to sources quoted by CTV News.

Those sources also said the federal government had seized Zehaf-Bibeau’s passport to prevent him from travelling abroad.

Police initially believed two or three attackers were responsible for the shooting that claimed the life of Nathan Cirillo, a 24-old soldier on guard at the National War Memorial killed by the attacker.

The Ottawa shooting came two days after an Islamic convert ran down two Canadian soldiers with his car near Montreal, killing one of them. The two attacks on Canadian soldiers have raised concerns Canada is becoming a target of terrorist retaliation for its participation in US-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

No group has claimed responsibility for any of the two attacks.

On Tuesday, Canada said it is sending six CF-18 warplanes to join the air strikes against the Jihadist group in Iraq.

Canada’s Prime Minister Steven Harper, who was evacuated from Parliament as shooting began inside the building, said the attacker was a ‘terrorist’.

“For the second time this week, there has been a brutal and violent act on our soil,” Harper said in a televised address to the nation last night.

The acts of violence, he said, have shown that “Canada is not immune” to the types of terrorist attacks taking place elsewhere around the world.

“But let there be no misunderstanding, we will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” the Canadian premier said.

The Varna District Court has arrested German national Maxim Schmidt under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by the prosecuting authority in Aachen.

The 37-year-old German national is wanted in Germany to serve a prison sentence issued by the regional court of Aachen for smuggling heroin.

The prison term of a year and a half was imposed for offences committed in 2006.

8 years ago, Maxim Schmidt smuggled heroin from the Netherlands into Germany several times.

According to the German authorities, Schmidt initially smuggled heroin on his own, but at some point he was assisted by an accomplice.

The sentence entered into force in 2007.

The authorities in Germany demand that the man serve the rest of the penalty of 281 days of imprisonment.

He was arrested in Varna on October 20, 2014.

On Thursday, the German national told the court that he was staying in Bulgaria to receive treatment at a specialized addiction treatment center near Varna.

The Varna District Court ordered him to be remanded in custody in the Varna prison.

Maxim Schmidt will remain in the Varna prison until the next court sitting, when a different judge panel of the Varna District Court will review the extradition request of the German authorities.

On Thursday, the Varna District Court ruled that the EAW contained all of the mandatory elements listed in the Extradition Act and the European Arrest Warrant Act.

Freezing power prices and boosting police presence in regions with high rates of crime attributed to Roma population will be two key demands of Bulgaria’s nationalist coalition Patriotic Front in a new round of talks with GERB on Thursday.

Krasimir Karakachanov, leader of VMRO party that is part of the Patriotic Front, said in an interview for 24 Chasa daily that the potential participation of the PF in a government coalition with centre-right GERB hinges on these two conditions.

PF representatives meet GERB in Sofia at noon time on Thursday in a second round of consultations over formation of a government coalition following October 5 early elections in which GERB won most votes but remained short of outright majority.

GERB has 84 of the 240 in the 43rd National Assembly that is scheduled to hold its first meeting on October 27. The PF have 19 seats, which makes them the fifth-largest group out of the eight parties and coalitions that passed the 4% threshold to enter parliament.

Bulgaria’s energy regulator DKEVR raised power prices by 9.8% on average as of 1 October in a bid to help troubled National Electricity Company (NEK) reduce huge deficits on its balance sheet and stay afloat. The previous price hike, by an average of 2%, took effect on July 1. Raising electricity prices is a sensitive issue in Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest member state, where power bills account for a considerable portion of households’spending.

Karakachanov also said the PF will push for an overall review of price formation in the energy sector .

“Why are we exporting cheap electricity generated by Kozloduy [nuclear power plant] and Maritza East 2 [coal fired power plant] while here we are buying expensive power from [coal fired] Maritza East 1 and Maritza East 3?” Karakachanov said.

“Let’s have it the other way round and lower the profitability rate of the latter ones.”

Kozloduy and Maritza East 2 are state-owned, while Maritsa East 1 is owned by US-based AES Corporation. Maritsa East 3 is majority owned by another US-based company, ContourGlobal .

According to Karakachanov, the long-term power purchase agreements with the US investors can’t be an obstacle to defending Bulgaria’s national interests.

Referring to burglaries of homes of mostly elderly people in remote villages across Bulgaria widely blamed on Roma population living there, Karakachanov urged police to introduce round-the-clock video surveillance in those areas rather than sporadically send patrols which usually are unable to find the perpetrators.

 “It is intolerable to leave a Bulgarian pensioner, who had paid his bills and social insurance for 45 years, to be robbed by our Roma brethren,” Karakachanov said.

The PF also demands that Bulgarian nationals residing in Turkey, who have the right to vote in parliamentary elections in Bulgaria, cast ballots only in polling stations opened in the Bulgarian embassy and consular offices in the neighbouring country. The move will aim to prevent potential voting fraud suspected to favour Bulgaria’s mainly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) which draws large portion of its support from Bulgarian expats living in Turkey.

 

 

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has decided to boost the capacity of the Lyubimets refugee center by setting up a wagon-camp.

The caretaker government decided Thursday to amend a plan for additional measures in the case of increased migratory pressure in the period April-December 2014 to allocate additional funding to boost the capacity of the accommodation center in Lyubimets to 400.

The transportation and placement of the wagons, the provision of power and water supply, and the connection to a sewerage network, are to cost BGN 637 000 plus an additional BGN 49 000.

The wagon settlement is to be completed by the end of 2014, according to reports of Sega daily.

The refugee center in Lyubimets is managed by the Migration Directorate of the Interior Ministry and it accommodates illegal immigrants who have not yet filed applications for refugee status.

The refugee center, which has been functioning since 2011, can currently house 300 people.

Municipal councilors and a banking officer have been arrested in a specialized operation of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) in the southern town of Brezovo.

Radnyo Manolov, Mayor of the Brezovo Municipality, explained that the special operation had been conducted on Tuesday evening.

He specified that the authorities had arrested Dimitar Tomov, Deputy Mayor of the Brezovo Municipality, Stoyna Maleshkova, Secretary of the Brezovo Municipality, and Stoyanka Stoyanova, manager of the DSK Bank office in Brezovo, for a period of up to 72 hours.

The three are investigated for abuse of personal data and forging voluntary pension scheme registrations, according to the Focus news agency.

According to unconfirmed reports, some 500 people had their voluntary pension scheme registrations forged.

The arrests came after an investigation of several months of DANS on a tip-off for redirecting installments under voluntary pension schemes from one pension fund to another without the written consent of the people.

Some 20 Bulgarian companies are involved in the construction of infrastructure for Qatar's 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to Ziad El Masri, Chairman of the Bulgarian-Arab Business Association.

Ziad El Masri informed that Bulgarian companies had managed to sign contracts in Qatar thanks to the international investment forum "The new economy of Bulgaria - The way to the East" held in the resort town of Pomorie in spring.

Ziad El Masri, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, argued that Bulgarian companies were attracting increasing interest from international partners.

According to data of the Bulgarian-Arab Business Association, over 7000 tourists from Kuwait visited Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast during the first edition of the investment forum.

“The number of companies participating in the forum has increased and we hope that the trend will persist during the next editions of the event. Investors will be shown over 10 presentations. The forum keeps gaining trust. During the last edition, participants from Iraq and Russia inquired about possibilities for investment in livestock breeding. Unfortunately, in 2014 we had serious problems with animals suffering from foot-and-mouth disease, but the interest of investors still exists,” said Pavel Marinov, District Governor of Burgas, as cited by Standard daily.

During the second edition of the investment forum "The new economy of Bulgaria - The way to the East", scheduled to take place on October 22-24, companies will be able to establish direct business contacts with organizations from Bulgaria, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, Morocco, Sudan, Oman, Lebanon, etc.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party has issued recommendations about the makeup of Bulgaria’s new government.

ALDE President Guy Verhofstadt declared that the worst possible outcome of the ongoing coalition talks in Bulgaria would be a cabinet with the participation of nationalist formations like the Patriotic Front and the Ataka party.

Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister, argued that a coalition including nationalist entities could further delay the real European integration of Bulgaria.

Verhofstadt, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio, refused to comment on the participation of nationalists in the new Belgian government, saying that the matter involved home affairs.

Meanwhile, center-right party GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria), the winner in the early elections on October 5,  continues the second round of coalition talks, with GERB leader Boyko Borisov scheduled to meet representatives of the ABV Movement (Alternative for Bulgarian Revival) at 9 am and representatives of nationalist coalition the Patriotic Front at 12 noon on Thursday.

 

A code orange weather alert for heavy rain and strong wind has been issued for 7 Bulgarian districts, including Blagoevgrad, Smolyan, Kardzhali, Haskovo, Lovech, Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo.

The districts of Kardzhali and Veliko Tarnovo are expected to see heavy rain combined with strong wind, according to the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology.

In the western and southern parts of the country, the rain started on Wednesday night and it is expected to spread throughout the country, with total amounts of 15-30 liters of rain per square meter predicted.

In Western and Central Bulgaria, the total amount of rain is to reach 50-60 liters per square meter.

Due to the strong rain, meteorologists have issued a code red weather alert for the Varbitsa River near Zlatograd.

River levels are expected to increase, especially in western and central Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, temperatures are expected to drop by over 10 degrees.

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev will arrive Thursday in Brussels on a two-day working visit related to a European Council meeting.

The agenda of the upcoming meeting includes discussions on the policy of the EU on climate and energy in the period 2020-2030, according to the press office of the Bulgarian President.

The heads of state or government of the Member States will also hold a meeting devoted to internal relations in the EU where the emphasis will be on measures against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The representatives of the Member States of the European Council will also hold talks with Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament.

Ludogorets defeated Basel 1-0 in UEFA Champions League Group B match in Sofia on Wednesday evening.

The victory over the Swiss visitors made Ludogorets the first ever Bulgarian team to earn points at Champions League group stage.

Left-back Yordan Minev gave the victory to the hosts by scoring in the first minute of added time from about 20 metres.

Basel played 72 minutes with 10 men after midfielder Serey Die was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Cosmin Moti.

Ludogorets, Basel and Liverpool now are all on three points from three matches, behind group leaders Real Madrid who have nine points also from three matches.

Basel will meet Ludogorets in Switzerland on 4 November.








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