Bulgarian Police Try to Disentangle Customs Corruption Scheme

Crime | February 17, 2010, Wednesday // 19:20|  views

Head of Burgas Police Milen Dimitrov (left) and Prosecutor Angel Georgiev (right) announced an exposed corruption scheme at the Lesovo crossing. Photo by BGNES

A Bulgarian customs officer was arrested in a special operation of the Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old Krasimir Gochev, who works at the Lesovo crossing point at the Bulgaria-Turkey border, was arrested on contraband charges.

He was busted as he had just let through a truck with contraband perfumes from Turkey worth almost BGN 5 M without collecting any taxes or customs duties. The smuggled goods were destined to the western parts of the EU.

According to the customs documentation prepared by Gochev, the truck transported pottery. Gochev has been followed by the GDBOP for four months.

The arrested customs officer may lead the police to disentangling a higher-ranking corruption scheme as Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov revealed there was information that Gochev had been paying BGN 30 000 to higher-ranking customs officers each month.

In addition, wealthy businessmen from the nearby city of Burgas are said to also have been included in the contraband scheme.

Vanyo Tanov, the Director of Bulgaria’s Customs Agency, said that any higher-ranking customs officer would be fired, while PM Boyko Borisov went further saying they would be arrested.

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Tags: Customs Agency, Lesovo Border Crossing Point, customs agents, corruption, contraband, smuggling, Burgas, turkey


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