Ex Bulgarian Mayor: Mobster Pair Vanishing Is 'Staged Circus'

Crime | May 13, 2012, Sunday // 12:43|  views

The jail sentence of the notorious 'Galevi brothers', known as "the owners of the first private town in Bulgaria", is just yet another sign of Bulgaria's effort to win the confidence of Brussels, according to EurActiv. Photo by BGNES

The former Mayor of Bulgaria's western town of Dupnitsa, Plamen Sokolov, labeled the disappearance of the notorious alleged mobster pair Angel Hristov and Plamen Galev, better known as the Galevi brothers, "an organized circus."

The two vanished just days after being sentenced by Bulgaria's Supreme Court to serve time in jail.

Speaking Sunday in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, Sokolov accused the institutions of passing the ball.

"If they have left the country, we must ask some logical questions. If they crossed the border with their own ID documents, it means someone let them do it. If they used fake ones, it means anyone can acquire false identification in this country," said the former Mayor.

According to him, there is also a third possibility – Galev and Hristov hiding in Bulgaria and laughing at the authorities.

"If a gypsy stole a chicken, he would have already been behind bars," Sokolov stressed without discounting the possible "exotic return" of the two.

Parvan Dingov, also a former Dupnitsa Mayor, said during the same broadcast that he was certain there would be further developments and a conclusion of the case on grounds it was impossible for Galevi to have had organized everything just on their own, without the help of other people.

On May 9, Galev and Hristov were issued a nationwide search warrant amidst reports they fled abroad with a huge stash of money and strong criticism on the part of the European Commission.

On May 3, Bulgaria's Supreme Court of Cassations upheld Galevi's jail sentences issued by a lower instance.

The magistrates, however, reduced Galev's sentence by two years and Hristov's by one on grounds they have clean criminal records and are known for charitable activities. Galev will thus serve 5 years behind bars while Hristov will be in jail for 4 years, both on charges of participating in an organized crime group dealing with racket and extortion. The rule is final and cannot be appealed.

In the beginning of July 2011, the Sofia Appellate Court surprisingly reversed the trial against Galevi, sentencing them to a total of 12 years in jail - Plamen Galev to 7 years in prison, and Angel Hristov – to 5.

In addition, Galev was sentenced to a fine of BGN 10 000 and confiscation of 1/3 of his properties and assets, and Hristov – to a fine of BGN 7000, and confiscation of 1/4 of his properties and assets for the benefit of the state.

The two were appealing the sentence with the Supreme Court of Cassations, which is the last instance.

Hristov and Galev, known as the Galevi brothers (they don't have a family relation) are alleged to be two of Bulgaria's most notorious gangsters.

Back in November 2010, the Regional Court in the southwestern city of Kyustendil acquitted them of all charges – including heading an organized crime group, racketeering, and extortion on the grounds with they were being tried on rumors, not real evidence.

Four other men were also sentenced as members of the organized crime group led by Galevi. Three of them are already jailed in the prison in the nearby town of Bobovdol.

In February 2011, the Chair of the Regional Court in the southwestern Bulgarian city of Kyustendil, Miroslav Nachev, published his motives for the acquittal of the notorious pair of alleged mafia bosses from the town of Dupnitsa listed on 108 pages.

The publication was released after Judge Nachev was called by the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) to give explanations about the delay of writing the motives. He had had a December 4 deadline, as provided by the Penal Code.

Nachev has offered the explanation that case has been very cumbersome with 150 interrogated witnesses and 12 volumes of documentation and that as the Court Chair he also had to prepare the annual report at that exact same time – the end of 2010.

The two alleged mafia bosses are believed to hold the citizens of Dupnitsa on a leash, as their jobs and prosperity depend on the two burly former policemen with shady background and businesses.

The Galevi trial, launched in September 2009, came in the wake of a large-scale and flashy raid by what appeared to be the state army, which rummaged offices, auto-houses and apartments in the capital Sofia, Pernik and Dupnitsa.

In mid-June 2009, the Galevi brothers walked out of jail after both were allowed to run at the general elections and thus receiving immunity from prosecution. They failed to win seats in the 41st General Assembly, but were still free on bail.

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Tags: search warrant, vanished, Dupnitsa, insult, fine, Sofia Appellate Court, Kyustendil, Kyustendil Regional Court, mafia, gangsters, gangster, organized crime, racket, racketeering, Plamen Galev, Angel Hristov, Galevi brothers, Supreme Court of Cassations, former mayor


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