Financial and business news from Bulgaria

“Bulgaria mall” turned out to be owned by Lukoil boss Vagit Alekperov

“Bulgaria Mall” and the attached two office buildings called “Infinity Tower” turn out to be owned by the president of the Russian oil company Lukoil Vagit Alekperov. This was revealed by the Bivol site, publishing documents showing that most likely as early as 2018, when the property was sold by the previously owned investor to Luxembourg-based fund SQC Opportunity SCA SICAV RAIF, it is actually owned by the Russian billionaire, his wife Larissa and his son Yusuf.
Behind the Luxembourg fund is officially the Spanish investment group Squircle Capital, but from the documents that Bivol published in the framework of an international investigation launched by the French newspaper Le Monde shows that by early 2020 the real owners of the group are the Russian billionaire and his family through his The Venice Trust. They also own a number of other properties in EU countries, especially in Spain and France and the investigation starts from there.

The price of the transaction under which Alekperov's trust acquired the property is not known, but according to estimates from the market it cannot cost below 100 million euros. Moreover, the company owner “Bull. Bulgaria 69 “is pledged to Unicredit Bulbank and Italian parent bank Unicredit as collateral on a loan of 119m euros. The debt, while restructured and significantly reduced after the 2018 deal, has yet to be repaid, it is clear from the documents Bivol published.

So far in any public appearance in Bulgaria Vagit Alekperov has not hinted that he owns a large metropolitan mall. It is also not listed in the Commercial Register as the final owner of the company “Bull. Bulgaria 69 “, as required by the Law on Measures Against Money Laundering. There is only Spanish citizen Jose Caireta Riera.