Gebrev’s firm is on US black list

Emiliyan Gebrev

In 2017, it became clear that EMCO has been on the US State Department’s black list for at least two years. The list features a multitude of companies banned from trading on the US market, but Gebrev’s EMCO is the only Bulgarian firm.

For Gebrev this is by far not the first scandal. In 2001, a journalistic inquiry of 168 Hours daily revealed that Gebrev took four artillery weapons on a loan basis for a deposit of USD 23,000 a piece from the Ministry of Defence and then “forgot” to return them because he sold the weapons abroad. The ministry, then headed by the faithful associate of Ivan Kostov, Boyko Noev, accepted the deposit although it did not cover the cost of the weapons and “punished” the people who expedited the deal. Two years earlier, in 1999, the US customs officers arrested a vessel carrying 30 million cartridges for Kalachnikov assault rifles which Gebrev purchased from Nicaragua. It is a curious detail that once this cargo was imported to the South American country from USSR through the mediation of Kintex and with personal participation of the arms dealer who then was an employee in a state-owned company. However, in 1999, during the preparation and legalization of documentation on the deal and the import of ammunitions to Bulgaria, Gebrev omitted to mention that they were bought from Nicaragua. Only USSR was mentioned in the country of origin certificate and it was specified that EMCO would import the cargo via Spider Intl., an offshore company registered in Panama. This company was founded by Gebrev himself in 1996. However, after the scandal broke the license of EMCO was revoked. Nevertheless in 2001, Gebrev won a lawsuit against US authorities and demanded that his license for import of ammunitions be temporarily restored.

After these two affairs there followed the so-called “Macedonian scandal”. In December 2006, police patrol vehicle stopped three Bulgaria TIR trucks without documents loaded with thirty-three 120-mm mine throwers M-43 and 300 German 7,62-mm machine guns MG-3. During the investigation it was found out that that the recipient company was EMCO. However, the scandal was soon hushed up.


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