Defence Industry Interagency Council Reinstates Weapons Manufacturer Emco’s Trading License

Sofia, October 6 (BTA) – The interagency council on the defence industry has unanimously decided to reinstate weapons manufacturer Emco trading license, said here Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov at a Friday news conference.

In August, the council decided to revoke the company’s trading license over keeping in its warehouses ammunition and substances which the law says should be kept separately, and violations of the fire safety standards. Another company in the defence sector, Dunarit of Rousse (on the Danube), also faced a suspension of its licence after its chief executive was implicated in a money laundering scandal.

The police has established that Emco has addressed the violations that pose a direct risk for the population and the workers. Other injunctions have been issued, which Emco will comply with, Karanikolov said, explaining that these violations do not pose a threat to the population and the workers, which is why the police has proposed that the company’s license be reinstated. Among them are technical and documentary irregularities, he said.

Karanikolov promised the company’s workers that, if the interagency council members agree, their demands will be reviewed promptly, because the products they manufacture are in high demand and will be granted export permits as soon as possible, if compliant with the law.

Answering a question about Emco’s inclusion in the US Department of State’s blacklist, the Minister described this as an unpleasant fact, adding that work must be done to remove the company from the list.

Karanikolov recalled that the National Economic Council under his Ministry is yet to discuss ways to improve the regulatory framework and assist the military industrial complex, which is something Emco had asked for as well.

On Friday, workers from Emco, supported by fellow workers from Dunarit, rallied outside the St Sofia Hall in the capital Sofia. They said they will carry on protests next Monday and Wednesday. Slavcho Demirev, director of Emco-Tryavna, said that the economy ministry reinstated Emco’s trading licence but stole its contracts.
Protesters turned down an invitation to meet by Economy Ministry Emil Karanikolov and demanded to see Prime Minister Boyko Borissov instead. They voiced concern that the state was trying to liquidate Emco and chanted “Resignation”.

Emco demanded to receive back its nternational contracts, urgent delivery of suspended exports, back payments for effected deliveries and criticized checks of its subscontractors.

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On Friday, officers of the National Revenue Agency (NRA) visited Emco in connection with an audit of a third person unrelated to the company’s trading licence.

In April 2015, NRA seized registered shares of defence products company Dunarit. In June 2017, NRA established that the principal shareholder in Emco was Dunarit and not the said individual. The transfer of seized shares is not allowed by law. In early September NRA officers tried unsuccessfully to
establish the whereabouts of the seized shares so they can be confiscated and the connection with Emco. On Friday, staff at Emco did not know the whereabouts of the shares.