2011-07-29 WikiLeaks: "A passionately eager Bulgaria in bed with the muscle bound duo of Gazprom and Lukoil"

Putin and bulgarian PM Borissov

Putin and bulgarian PM Borissov

A diplomatic cable of the US embassy in Sofia, dated October 2, 2008, has been revealed on WikiLeaks, focusing on Bulgaria's energy dependence from Russia.

The report titled "BULGARIA AND THE ENERGY KNOT: SCENESETTER FOR OCT 7 VISIT OF SPE GRAY," has been sent by then US Ambassador in Sofia, Nancy McEldowney to Boyden Grey, at the time Special Envoy for European Affairs and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy at the Mission of the United States to the European Union, ahead of his visit to Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian dependency is described by the Ambassador almost pornographically with the following words: "But the cartoon strip portraying a passionately eager Bulgaria in bed with the muscle bound duo of Gazprom and Lukoil is only partially true -- it is a tryst driven less by passion and more by a perceived lack of options."

The cable is revealed after the Bulgarian Government revoked the license of one of the "muscle bound lovers": the local refinery of the Russian oil giant Lukoil, who was forced to halt operations for at least a month and a half.

Тhe Director of the Bulgarian Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov explained that the refinery cannot operate without the required electronic measuring devices Lukoil failed to install in its storage facilities, and can deal only with the fuels already outside the plant.

The news shocked many as the Lukoil Bulgaria CEO, Valentin Zlatev, is known to be one of Borisov's closest friends. A secret diplomatic cable sent in 2006 by Ambassador John Bayrle stressed on the strong ties between Borissov and Zlatev.

"Borisov has close financial and political ties to LUKoil Bulgaria Director Valentin Zlatev, a vastly influential kingmaker and behind-the-scenes power broker. Borisov's loyalty (and vulnerability) to Zlatev play a major role in his political decision making." - Beyrly wrote.

His predecessor John Pardew wrote in 2005 that "Lukoil's Bulgarian operations, through Zlatev, are suspected of strong ties to Russian intelligence and organized crime."

However, Borissov is now rejecting the allegations that his friendship with Zlatev can influence the decisions on the refinery license. Both Borissov and finance minister Djankov declared that everyone should be equal before the law, including the almighty Lukoil.

But there is talk Zlatev and Borisov have reached an agreement and Lukoil will actually benefit from increased fuel prices since there is an upcoming planned closure of the refinery for renovations and the company has already produced enough fuel to make up for it – something both Djankov and Zlatev vehemently deny - English language news site Novinite wrote.

Analysts in Bulgaria also suggested that Russia is in the game with Lukoil inserting pressure on ousting Zlatev or because the project to build a second Nuclear Power Plant in the Danube town of Belene with Russian participation, where the Lukoil Bulgaria CEO is a consultant for the Russian side, is at stake.

This could mean the saga with the love play, turning into a love drama, should definitely include a third "muscle bound lover" - the Russian Rosatom corporation, constructor of the Belene NPP, not mentioned in the cable by McEldowney.

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