Bulgarian Drug Boss's Wife Exposed as Socialist Party Sponsor

Crime | September 8, 2011, Thursday // 19:57|  views

Hristo (Itso) Baykov (middle) said to be Sofia's new drug lord was left in jail on racketeering charges. Photo by BGNES

The wife of imprisoned Sofia drug lord Hristo (Itso) Baykov is one of the largest donors to the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), according to a Bulgarian weekly.

Svetlana Baykova's firm "Sisto ODD" has donated BGN 4 400 to BSP, making it the second largest corporate contribution to the party after that of Mekom – Silistra, a mean-processing plant, the 168 Chasa weekly reported Thursday.

On top of that Baykova donated BGN 6 900 as a private person, and is a party functionary at the Socialists club in the Sofia's Krasno Selo quarter. She has even ran for chairman of the youth party organization.

"I am a member of BSP, I share the social-democratic values. I have donated money to the party," the drug lord's wife is quoted as saying, adding, "My political convictions are part of my heritage and nobody can impose them on me. Hristo's arrest hardly has anything to do with the fact that I am a party member. He is not a member of BSP, his views are different from mine. I have not shared the news about his arrest with the other party members because this is a personal matter."

Last week Hristo (Itso) Baykov, said to be the new drug boss of the Bulgarian capital Sofia, was left in permanent detention on racketeering charges.

Baykov, the man described by recent media reports as a ruthless mafia boss trying to take over Sofia's drug market, tried to extort BGN 25 000 from a Sofia architect and construction entrepreneur named Ivan Kolev.

"We will rip you apart. I will break your legs and arms, and will leave you disabled." This is how Baykov threatened Kolev, according to witness testimonies. The Court has described Baykov as a "personality of a high level of public threat."

If found guilty of racketeering and extortion, Baykov could get between 1 and 6 years, and a fine of between BGN 1 000 and BGN 3 000, according to Bulgarian legislation. His permanent detention can be appealed.

In August, the Bulgarian 24 Chasa daily, a sister publication of the 168 Chasa weekly, published a report describing Baykov as the new top leader of the drug market in Sofia who was aggressively conquering more and more territories in the Bulgarian capital.

The report stressed the fact that he would seek to scare off his competition by claiming to be paying both the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office, thus becoming "untouchable."

The 36-year-old Itso Baykov is said to be in charge of the narcotics supply in a number of quarters in Sofia – Boyana, Dragalevtsi, Simeonovo, Vitosha, Knyazhevo, Ovcha Kupel, Lagera, Hipodruma, Borovo, and Krasno Selo as well as some parts of the city center.

Commissar Stanimir Florov from Bulgaria's Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) said Thursday after Baykov's arrest that the alleged drug lord had already been arrested by GDBOP several months ago.

However, the Prosecutor's Office had decided that it could not be proven that the drugs and illegal weapons found in the same home were actually Baykov's.

The recent days saw increase media attention in Bulgaria, especially by TV channels, focused on Mariya Velkova, a model appearing on TV, also famous for her nude photo sessions, said to be the drug lord's lover and the girlfriend, whose apartment the beaten architect renovated.

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Tags: GDBOP, police, drug boss, drugs, drug lord, drug lords, drug distribution, sofia, Itso Baykov, Hristo Baykov, illegal weapons, illegal drugs, drugs possession, extortion, Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, cover up, investigator, unit for combating organized crime, racketeering, racket, Svetlana Baykova, Mariya Velkova, model, BSP, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Krasno Selo quarter, donations


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