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BGR helps Bulgarian tycoon lawmaker deal with US ‘issues’; Senate Finance counsel joins Ecuador trade account; Spain seeks tourism boost: Thursday’s Daily Digest

Lobbying powerhouse helps Bulgarian tycoon lawmaker deal with US ‘issues’

A media tycoon and lawmaker with close ties to the Bulgarian government is getting a hand from a lobbying powerhouse amid increasing US attention to endemic corruption in the Balkan country.

Bulgarian law firm Aviora Consult has hired the BGR Group to help its client Delyan Peevski with “issues in the US.” The agreement is for $30,000 per month for six months.

The contract comes as Peevski is battling a RICO lawsuit and a lobbying campaign from Bulgarian business owners who accuse him of being behind government efforts to seize their property.

Read the story here.

New lobbying filings


Ecuador: Arnold & Porter has added attorney Brian Bombassaro as a foreign agent on its new $900,000 account with Ecuador’s Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries. Bombassaro rejoined the firm this year after serving as International Trade Counsel on the US Senate Committee on Finance under Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Ecuador is pushing for a bilateral free trade agreement such as the ones the United States has with Ecuadorian competitors including Mexico, Colombia and Peru. Quito also wants the US to lift tariffs on four key agricultural exports: broccoli, artichokes, tuna and roses.

The contract was effective Nov. 10 and runs through May 2021. Also working the account for Arnold & Porter are former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon and Raul Herrera, a former general counsel to the Inter-American Investment Corporation. The Glover Park Group is working as a subcontractor on the account.

Ecuador nabs top US diplomat Tom Shannon for $900,000 trade push


Azerbaijan: The BGR Group has just disclosed that it signed a contract renewal covering all of 2020 with the Embassy of Azerbaijan earlier this year for $40,000 per month. BGR “was unaware that this previously executed agreement was not filed,” the filing states. “][The firm] has continued filing all other documents (including but not limited to supplemental filings and informational materials, etc.) as if this update was submitted earlier.” BGR has represented the embassy since 2017. The original contract was for $50,000 per month. The disclosure comes as lobbying firms have come under pressure from the Armenian-American diaspora to cut ties with Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey over the conflict with Armenia over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Mercury drops Turkey after coming under fire from Armenian diaspora

China: Mercury Public Affairs has registered six employees on its new account with the US subsidiary of China’s JinkoSolar, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer. They are: Senior Partner John Gallagher; partners Daniel Marc Bank and Nicole Flotteron; Vice President Gregory Drilling; Managing Director Ian McCaleb; and director Brent James Petrone. The firm was retained effective Dec. 7 to advise on “public relations services related to JinkoSolar’s business practices and economic interests, including outreach to US-based media.” A written contract is under negotiation.

Chinese solar giant seeks lobbying help as Biden eyes renewables


Spain: Turespaña, the Tourist Office of Spain, has signed a two-year, $214,000 contract with MMGY Global, the world’s largest travel marketing agency, to manage the social networks of the Tourism Office of Spain in New York. The Kansas City-based firm will “manage social media channels and spend to promote Spain to North American travelers.” The contract is dated Aug. 5 but was just disclosed with the Department of Justice this week. It was signed by Tourism Office of Spain in New York Director Jose Manuel de Juan and MMGY CFO Hugh McConnell.

Middle East

Qatar: Praia Consultants has registered consultant Jordan Colvin on its $100,000-a-month lobbying contract for the Embassy of Qatar via Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Former Serbian Ambassador to the US Vladimir Petrovic incorporated the firm in July. Petrovic worked on several Democratic campaigns in Chicago as well as with former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm before joining the Serbian foreign ministry. He was appointed ambassador during President Barack Obama‘s first term. Working with him at the firm is Obama’s former Senate campaign manager and political director Dan Shomon.

“We decided to start this new firm because we’re looking into possibly doing some other stuff together in D.C.,” Petrovic told Foreign Lobby Report in August. “We both have a lot of friends working for [Joe] Biden. I worked with Democrats for years, and so has Dan. We’re hoping things are going to change [in Washington].”

Former Serbia envoy’s new firm taps ex-Obama aide for $1.2 million Qatar deal