Owners of guest houses that are not used for their intended purpose will have to return BGN 4.5 million BGN. Bulgaria’s Minister of Agriculture, Desislava Taneva, said ...

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Owners of guest houses that are not used for their intended purpose will have to return BGN 4.5 million BGN. Bulgaria’s Minister of Agriculture, Desislava Taneva, said on July 11 after a check of all such houses in the country.

The check identified that 15 out of 288 guest houses do not function as intended, and additional checks are due for other 74 houses because of suspicions of deviatiation from the rules.

A total of 746 guest houses in Bulgaria were built with EU funds, 288 are subject to monitoring, 100% were checked, announced the Minister of Agriculture. If they are in violation, it will be decided what sanction will be imposed on 74 of them.

The owners of three EU-funded guest houses are close to mayors: Lukovit, Dolna Banya and Velingrad, announced Desislava Taneva. The houses in the first two towns function in compliance with the law. The one in Velingrad will be subject to a sanction, she added.

There are two cases in which the owners of guest houses are linked to officials from the State Fund “Agriculture” (SFA). One of the houses, in Lovech district, belongs to the parents of a SFA fund official, the Head of SFA, Zhivko Zhivkov, explained.

There is no deadline for the owners of guest houses in breach to return the EU subsidies, but may appeal the SFA sanction before the Supreme Administrative Court. If they lose their case but have no money to pay, the court may order enforcement proceedings.

The Ministry of Agriculture will forward all the information about the violations to the Prosecutor's office.