Last update12:12:22 PM

Back You are here: Home Legal and Finance Finance Money, Money, Money: Bulgarian Millionaires

Money, Money, Money: Bulgarian Millionaires

With so much doom and gloom about global recessions it’s hard to focus on the fact that some people are actually still making money and that some of these people are in Bulgaria. In fact, next time someone tells you that you will never sell your Bulgarian property to a rich Bulgarian because they don’t exist, think again – Bulgaria now has around 10 thousand millionaires and some say this is a conservative estimate.


Millionaires the World Over

Across the globe there are somewhere in the region of 10 million millionaires who account for 40 trillion 700 billion dollars. Rather surprisingly, a survey of wealth by investment bankers Merrill Lynch highlighted the three regions with the greatest number of millionaires as being Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Half of those individuals on The Times Rich List made their money through property investment and this area accounts for much of those millions made legitimately in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Millionaires

Within Eastern Europe, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia take the top three slots in the millionaire rankings followed in fourth place by Bulgaria. However it is in first place in terms of the number of multi-millionaires and billionaires in Eastern Europe. Alexander Bozhkov, the co-chairman of the Center for Economic Development says that there are no official statistics to measure the number of millionaires in the country in the way that the USA uses ratings from the likes of Forbes Magazine, and it is also difficult to define the term “millionaire.” When measuring the number of millionaires, simply looking at the amount of assets held is not enough and it is necessary to take into account the amount of money owed as well; a millionaire may own property valued at 50 million euro, but at the same time he may also owe the bank 50 million. Looking at assets only in terms of real estate holdings, some maintain that everyone who owns property in the centre of Sofia will be a millionaire. Likewise anyone who owns agricultural land around the capital that can be regulated and sold to industrial or recreation developers is also a millionaire. In terms of millions in the bank however, these people are few and far between; most have reinvested their fortunes to generate more wealth. Bojidar Danev, Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Industry states that, “A million is not all that much and I think that 70% of the owners of construction companies in Bulgaria are millionaires as well as a large part of businessmen involved in the tourism sector.”

Dirty Money

A common saying in Bulgaria is that “all countries have a mafia, but in Bulgaria the mafia has a country!” With the fall of communism, a lot of public money was looted and transferred overseas. Journalist Grigor Lilov researched the notion of Bulgarian millionaires and where their money came from and found that whilst Spain has only one billionaire, Bulgaria has five and that 80% of Bulgarian millionaires have strong associations with organised crime.  Bojidar Danev maintains that there are really no more than 1,000 to 1,100 genuine millionaires in Bulgaria if you exclude those who have debts to negate their fortune and eliminate those who make their money from illegal means.



Millionaire Profile

Top of Bulgaria’s rich list is Vassil Bozhkov who owns several private businesses across the country as well as owning the largest and most expensive collection of antiques in Bulgaria. His actual wealth is estimated at approximately 760 million euro. Georgi Angelov an economic analyst has divided Bulgarian millionaires into two groups; those who were fortunate enough to inherit land from their grandparents located in a desirable area where prices are now at a premium and those speculative millionaires who have made shrewd investments in sectors which have seen high economic growth over several years. Most Bulgarian millionaires are men with a growing number of thirty year olds fitting the bill. The majority owns their own business and most have made their money in the real estate sector – today properties and land selling for 6 million euro is no longer a rarity in Bulgaria. Most Bulgarian millionaires do not come into the public spotlight preferring instead to keep out of the limelight. They love expensive watches, own their own aircraft, drive cars worth 440 thousand euro and sail yachts costing 10 million. They holiday on islands in the Maldives – whole islands that they rent to ensure their privacy.