ECONOMY

In Brief

Bulgaria’s ex-PM charged over missing documents SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgarian prosecutors yesterday charged opposition leader and former Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev with mishandling seven classified reports that went missing during his term in power. Stanishev, who headed the previous government from 2005-09, is now leader of the main opposition Socialist party and called the charges politically motivated. He is the first former prime minister investigated over wrongdoing since the collapse of communism in the Balkan country 20 years ago. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said the missing documents contained details about crime and corruption in the country, which is under pressure to show it can impose rule of law after years of gaining a reputation for a culture of impunity. «The Sofia city prosecutors’ office has [pressed] charges against Sergei Stanishev because… he has lost seven documents,» the prosecutors said in a statement. Zapatero: Spain needs to overhaul pension system Spain must overhaul its pension system, raising the retirement age and changing the way payments are calculated, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said, as the country tries to put its public finances in order. The government wants to raise the retirement age to 67 from 65 and may increase the number of years of contributions that are used to calculate pensions. That step might lead to lower average payouts. Any changes must go through a cross-party parliamentary commission and Zapatero said he wanted to seek «consensus» on the revamp. «We can’t close our eyes; we have to adapt our pension system to demographic changes,» Zapatero told lawmakers in Madrid yesterday in his annual state-of-the-nation address. (Bloomberg) ITGI investment Total investment in the Interconnector-Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) natural gas pipeline to bring Caspian gas via Turkey to Greece and Italy may reach 2.5 billion euros ($3.2 billion), the Turkey representative of energy company Edison said yesterday. In written answers to Reuters questions, Akin Ozkan said the largest chunk of the investment would be in Turkey but that financing talks would not begin until Caspian gas contracts had been finalized. Edison leads the pipeline project, which also involves Greece’s gas company DEPA and Turkey’s Botas. «The total cost of ITGI will be around 2-2.5 billion euros,» Ozkan said. The ITGI project will import at least 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) and as much as 13 bcm of natural gas a year from the Caspian Sea basin via Turkey and Greece to southern Italy. «Both we and the banks want to clarify the natural gas purchase agreement before sorting out the project financing,» he said. «We do not think there will be a problem with ITGI financing,» he added. The ITGI project is considered a possible threat to the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline project which is targeting access to the same Azeri Shah Deniz gas for its planned start-up phase. Turkey is backing both projects. (Reuters) Road deal Ellaktor SA, Greece’s biggest builder, signed a contract worth 60 million euros to build a roadway in Bulgaria, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based company yesterday. Construction of the project, which Ellaktor won through its Aktor unit, is expected to take 25 months, the statement said. (Bloomberg) Power permit Volterra SA, a company jointly owned by J&P Avax SA and Sorgenia SpA, received a 25-year license from Greek authorities to provide 300 megawatts of electricity, according to an Athens bourse filing yesterday. (Bloomberg) Portuguese bonds Portugal sold more government bonds yesterday than it had expected and analysts said the debt-laden country had shown it could tap markets successfully despite a dip in demand. It sold 877 million euros’ worth of bonds maturing in 2012 at an average yield of 3.159 percent, sharply above April’s 1.715 percent, and 803 million euros of bonds maturing in 2019 with an average yield of 5.332 percent, up from 5.225 in last month’s auction of a similar maturity. The indicative offer had been for 1 billion to 1.5 billion euros. (Bloomberg)