Bulgaria Asks FBI to Handle Fake Formula 1 Racketeers

Crime | September 7, 2010, Tuesday // 16:27|  views

The main racketeer of EABG, Alexander Tsakov, pictured in a car in the USA. Photo by 24 Chasa acquired through Facebook

Bulgaria's Interior has asked the FBI to meet with the two Bulgarian immigrants who made a joke by demanding racket from an Abu Dhabi company interested in investing in a Formula 1 racetrack near Sofia.

Bulgaria's Formula 1-gate emerged last week after the Economy Minister Traicho Traikov and the Chair of the Emirates Associated Business Group (EABG) Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki signed in Sofia a letter of intent, under which the Abu Dhabi company declared interest in infrastructure projects in Bulgaria, including the possible construction of a Formula 1 circuit at Dobroslavtsi near Sofia.

The scandal erupted at first when the press center of the Economy Ministry reported incorrect information about the EABG Chair (styling him the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi) Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki and the agreement itself.

Subsequently, when an EABG adviser, Anwar Badwan, arrived in Sofia on Saturday to clear out the misunderstandings, he revealed he had received two emails – one demanding a racket of USD 94 M from the Abu Dhabi consortium in order "to put out the scandal", and another one containing threats to Badwan and his family, which even made the executive send outside Bulgaria his daughter that was accompanying him.

Bulgaria's Interior Ministry has established the identity of the two "racketeers" as two Bulgarian immigrants in Chicago – 32-year-old Alexander Tsakov – who signed the emails to Badwan as "Alex Tsakov" - and 30-year-old Vasil Stoev.

The two men are IT specialists and work in the USA in the healthcare sector.

Bulgaria's Interior Ministry believes that the two men – who are found to be ardent Formula 1 and car racing fans – sent the racket and threat emails as a joke – as well as "to increase the media interest" with regard to the F1 track in Bulgaria.

The Interior has made it clear it has contacted the US law enforcement authorities over the case; the 24 Chasa Daily reports that the Bulgarian police have contacted directly the US Federal Bureau of Investigations as well as the Bulgarian liaison officer at the Embassy in Washington, DC, asking them to meet with Tsakov and Stoev.

Facebook photos of the two "racketeers" demonstrate their love for racing and cars; the two men also work on sports car tuning and participate in amateur car races in America.

The Bulgarian Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, which took up the case after Badwan announced he had been racketeered and threatened over email, believes that Alexander Tsakov was the brain behind the messages that gave a new spin to Bulgaria's Formula 1-gate.

In 2002, Tsakov graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Since 1999, he has been working at a center for integrated medical aid in Chicago, the 24 Chasa Daily reports. Before emigrating, he was a software developer at various firms in Bulgaria, including BMW Ltd.

Tsakov's accomplice Vasil Stoev works at a medical center in Brookdale, Chicago.

Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has commended the anti-mafia experts from GDBOP, the Unit for Combating Organized Crime, for their perfect job on finding the source of the racket emails.

Vasil Stoev, Tsakov's accomplice, shown in an amateur racecar.

Alexander Tsakov, another Facebook photo, 24 Chasa Daily

Alexander Tsakov, another Facebook photo, 24 Chasa Daily

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Tags: Rumen Milanov, unit for combating organized crime, Prime Minister, Sheikhs, Raid ABu Hudra, Boyko Borisov, Rumen Petkov, Bogdan Nikolov, UAE, EABG, Emirates Associated Business Group, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Abdul Jalil al Blouki, Formula 1, Economy Minister, Traicho Traikov, Economy Ministry, Nikolay Mladenov, Foreign Minister, Anwar Badwan, F1-gate, Formula 1-Gate, Dobroslavtsi, Alexander Tsakov, Vasil Stoev, FBI, Chicago, Illinois


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