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Bulgaria Former Tsar Enjoys Court Leniency in Forest Case

Date: 28.10.2009

In a highly controversial ruling, a Bulgarian court has allowed wood-cutting in the forest plots restored to former Tsar and Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg.

The ruling will be effective until a ban on wood-cutting, issued by the head of the State Forest Estate – Borovets, comes into force, the District Administrative Court in Sofia decided.

At the beginning of the month, the court banned these activities, but its ruling was immediately appealed by the former son and his sister.

Now, in an inexplicable twist, the judges decided that the heirs to the royal family have the right to cut trees by the time the ban comes into effect.

The issue about the so called “Tsar’s estates” sprang up after Saxe-Coburg, upon becoming Prime Minister of Bulgaria in 2001, and his family claimed property which belonged to the Bulgarian royal family before it was nationalized by the communist government in the 1940s.

Bulgaria’s former Tsar and PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg is believed to have profited at least BGN 2 M from forest plots that were restored to his ownership unduly, according to the head of Bulgaria’s Forestry Agency, Georgi Kostov.

According to him at least BGN 4 521 decares of forest plots had been restored to Saxe-Coburg and his family’s ownership “twice”.

Kostov said the income from those additional plots exceeded BGN 4 M for the period they have been owned by Saxe-Coburg, and the net profit was BGN 2 M.

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