Sale of Bulgaria's Doverie under cloud of doubt

By Marc Castro

Aug 04, 2013 12:35 PM EDT

Last month, British firm United Capital had entered into an agreement to purchase a major part of Doverie, the largest private pension fund in Bulgaria. Now, it has been revealed, United Capital exists only on paper, since it has no market listing, website or even phone number.

Upon further investigation, the registered office of United Capital is a home in Grays in Essex, where an agency is situated that provides services to individuals in setting up their companies. The main person in the office is Tanja Pazarcik, who forwards the mail of United Capital to an Austrian address.

This has become the leading case for tougher disclosure laws in Britain, as the British firm has only GBP 14 in its bank account yet landed the pension fund with about BGN 1.8 billion or GBP 784.7 million with 1.25 million contributors. It is one of the most important pension funds in one of Europe's poorest countries.

Clearly, this is a problem with Doverie, as the continued uncertainty as to the true intent and information on the purchaser of 92% of its shares. There was no information provided as to the transaction price or other financial details. According to a spokeswoman at the Financial Supervision Commission of Bulgaria, no documents have been received for the approval of the sale from Vienna Insurance Group to the now being investigated British firm.  

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