Bulgaria's Top Cop Vows Verdicts in High-profile Cases

Crime | September 15, 2010, Wednesday // 12:16|  views

Bulgaria's Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, says high-profile criminal cases are dragging on for months because it is very difficult to charge powerful underworld figures. Photo by BGNES

The evidence and the charges against former undercover agent of the State Agency for National Security (DANS), Aleksei Petrov, are stronger than ever and will hold in court.

The statement was made Wednesday by Bulgaria's Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who spoke in an interview for the TV channel bTV.

"Many things were said and written lately that the "Octopus" fell apart and turned into another animal, but I can tell you that by the end of the month the prosecutor will press official charges and things are moving in the right direction," Tsvetanov said.

Petrov, one of the most controversial and mysterious figures of the country's transition, was arrested on February 10, 2010, during the special police operation codenamed "Octopus," on charges of blackmail, racket, prostitution, illegal drug trading, draining of "Kremikovzi," trading in influence, money laundering, and tax evasion, among others.

The Interior Minister pointed out that the case has been dragging on for months because it is very difficult to charge powerful underworld figures.

In another high-profile case, codenamed "The Killers," Tsvetanov informed that they were the perpetrators of an emblematic murder of a well-known businessman, which happened 4 -5 years ago, adding more discoveries and more arrests in the case were pending.

"The Killers" were first arrested for the murder of controversial Samokov businessman, Yuri Galev, but were released by the Sofia Appellate Court over the lack of evidence. Three of them were detained again on charges of other murders, and are currently behind bars.

Tsvetanov further disproved rumors "The Killers" would be also implicated in the murder of radio host, Bobi Tsankov, who was gunned down in January in broad daylight on busy downtown boulevard in Sofia.

The Minister admitted the police made a mistake in making public a video of the arrest of the Deputy Prosecutor in the City of Pernik, Biser Mihaylov, where a man in underwear can be seen. On Tuesday, Mihaylov's brother Vasil said he would sue the State for moral damages because he was the one filmed. Vasil Mihaylov also claims large amount of money went missing from his house after the police raid, something Tsvetanov firmly rejected.

Currently the police is working hard to obtain funding from the EU "Administrative Capacity" and "Regional Development" programs, the Minister informed.

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Tags: Aleksei Petrov, Octopus, European Court of Human Rights, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, ringleader, police, Killers, Yuri Galev, Pernik, Prosecutor, Prosecutor's Office, arrest, police, racket, blackmail, loan sharks, Ethics Committee, Supreme Judicial Council, Biser Mihaylov, Vasil Mihaylov, Bobi Tsankov


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