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25.09.2013 12:14
RiskEngineering Director Interrogated in Belene Nuclear Station Investigation
The State Agency for National Security is investigating irregular payments from state-owned electricity company NEK to RiskEngineering and WorleyParsons for the cancelled Belene nuclear station project

  • © Belene NPP

Bogomil Manchev, director of engineering company Risk Engineering and Bulatom president, is currently being interrogated as part of the Belen nuclear station investigation, Bulgarian media reported.
Manchev, along with Sabin Sabinov, manager of WorleyParsons in Bulgaria, were arrested in a Friday crackdown in the companies’ offices by the State Agency for National Security (known in Bulgarian as
DANS) over allegations of embezzlement and intentional neglect of assets. Investigators have been alarmed about documents related to the case were being destroyed.
Irregular payments for the cancelled Belene project
WorleyParsons and RiskEngineering, as its contractor, were hired to carry out maintenance and overseeing of the construction site of Belene nuclear station. Earlier this month it emerged that despite the project being shelved, the National Electricity Company (NEK) has been paying some EUR 950,000 a month to the two companies.
Two ex-CEOs of NEK – Ivo Lefterov and Krum Atanasov, were also arrested, all four detained beings subsequently released with the status of witnesses to the case.
Following his release Bogomil Manchev stated for bTV that there was nothing irregular with the payments to RiskEngineering and WorleyParsons, as the two companies were not notified about their contract being terminated. He further argued that the Belene case was rather political, with underlying causes related to the government’s decisions and its orders to state-owned companies.
Atomstroyexport lawsuit
On Sept. 18 Bulgarian energy minister Dragomir Stoinev informed that his predecessors from GERB’s government – Traicho Traikov and Delian Dobrev, as well as GERB’s leader and ex-PM Boiko Borissov, have been invited to provide information on alleged delays of the work regarding an impending in October EUR 1 billion appeal of Russia’s Atomstroyexport against NEK over the cancellation of Belene.
It emerged that NEK’s legal representatives’ payments were temporarily seized for a period of four months leading to delayed work on the case. Stoinev revealed a statement of law firm White & Case warning over possible negative outcome of the lawsuit for NEK, if there are further hinders.
Belene – vital part of the government’s energy strategy
Despite being cancelled in March 2012 by the previous government, the much disputed Belene nuclear station project somehow was hastily rekindled after the socialist-led government of Plamen Oresharski took over in May 2012.
Belene NPP is said to cost somewhere between EUR 6.5 and 10 billion, without counting possible penalties that the Bulgarian state would have to pay to Atomstroyexport for the delays.
“I feel that constructing Belene NPP would be more profitable for Bulgaria”, prime-minister Oresharski stated following his election in May 2013, expressing his belief that Atomstroyexport would most likely win the lawsuit against NEK.

TAGS: Risk Engineering | Worley Parsons | Bulgaria | Belene | nuclear station | lawsuit | Atomstroyexport | Rosatom | security services | investigation | energy strategy 

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20.03.2022  Teodor Bobochikov, Managing Partner, V-Ridium
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