Europol, US Pile Praise on Borisov for Shattering Money Forging RingDiplomacy | October 15, 2010, Friday // 17:22| views
US Ambassador Warlick (left) congratulates Interior Minister Tsvetanov (middle) shortly before Europol Director Wainright (right) presented a special award to Bulgarian PM Borisov (middle back) for busting a large-scale money forgery ring. Photo by BGNES
Europol Director Rob Wainwright has presented Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov with a special award over the busting of a ring forging EUR and USD banknotes.
The Europol distinction was awarded to Borisov for the police operation on October 1, 2010, when the Interior found a lab for banknote forgery in the village of Dolno Sahrane in Central Bulgaria. The highly-sophisticated forging equipment was placed in small shop near a pig farm so that the noise from the latter can drown the printing noise. ("When it works, there are some pigs there who squeak rather well, and drown the noise," Interior Minister Tsvetanov has explained.)
The forgers printed fake EUR 20, 50, and 100 bills and fake USD 50 bills. The police seized a total of EUR 80 000 and USD 27 500, and arrested three men, after having investigated the forgery lab for three months.
According to Interior Minister Tsvetanov, the banknote printing press in Dolno Sahrane printed bills for 24 countries, including France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, and a total of EUR 1.5 M in forged banknotes produced by it have already been detected by police authorities across Europe.
"The Bulgarian banknote forgers destroy the faith in United Europe. That is why this operation is so important," Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov declared upon receiving the Europol award on Friday.
He recalled that when took over as Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry in 2001, Europol did not even wish to speak with the Bulgarian police authorities because of Bulgaria's image as the most corrupt and organized crime-plagued country.
"Our criminals hurt the confidence in the EU thought the forging of banknotes and credit cards. Entire states had to changed their bank accounts because they did not know what else to do," Borisov stated boasting a high number of police raids on forgery labs during his term as head of the police in 2001-2005 which he contrasted with a failure of the subsequent government (2005-2009) to achieve anything in that respect. He stated that his superior, Interior Minister Georgi Petkanov, was not issued a US visa during his 4-year term because of the lack of trust for him.
The PM also said that the banknote printing press found in Dolno Sahrana had been searched for by the police for 6-7 years.
"When we told our foreign partners, a number of experts flew in specially to see if it is real," he explained.
"I actually envy the current policemen because of the strong political backing that they have on my part to do their job," Borisov declared seeking to contrast the situation with his term as head of the police.
Before presenting him the Europol award, the director of the service Rob Wainwright said the results that Bulgaria achieved in the past year were "very impressive."
"Today we celebrate the accomplishment of success in a crucial operation against organized crime," he said explaining that the busted money forgers printed and distributed fake banknotes that were found in 10 000 different cases in over 20 European countries.
"The award that Borisov got is a special symbol of the cooperation and joint efforts and our determination to fight corruption and organized crime," declared the Europol director, who also gave special letters of recognition to Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Chief Secretary of the Interior Kalin Georgiev.
Wainwright vowed that Europol will continue to help Bulgaria crack down on key organized crime figures in the country.
US Ambassador James Warlick, who was also present, at the ceremony, also piled much praise on the work of the Prime Minister and the Bulgarian police, calling the anti-forgery operation a cornerstone and unprecedented example of international police cooperation.
He defined it as an immense success that also ushered into a new era of cooperation between the US and Bulgaria. US intelligence services have also praised the special operation.
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