Own Interior Minister Describes Bulgaria as 'Organized Crime Oasis'

Crime | November 1, 2012, Thursday // 20:44|  views

Bulgarian Interior MInister Tsvetan Tsvetanov (third on the left) during a visit in Ruse. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's own Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has described the country as an "oasis for organized crime".

Tsvetanov's declaration came Thursday in the Danube city of Ruse when he was asked about the two Bulgarians sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia.

"We have undertaken anything that we could. What I can send as a message to those young boys and girls who go abroad and think they can carry out trafficking or criminal activity, or drain credit cars, is to know that the laws in any of the countries that they visit are a lot more severe than they are in Bulgaria," Tsvetanov declared as cited by BGNES.

"If we in Bulgaria can state that we are an oasis for organized crime, or for persons dealing with organized crime, things abroad are very different," he elaborated.

Tsvetanov further noted that persons charged with credit card fraud abroad usually get prison sentences within a few months, while in Bulgaria they usually get away with suspended sentences or probation.

Bulgaria's Interior Minister further commented on the recent threat by the European Commission that it would publish a special monitoring report over recent appointments to Bulgaria's Constitutional Court – in addition to the annual monitoring reports of Bulgaria's reforms in justice and home affairs under the so called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).

"I really hope that precisely the European Commission will be able to see in details the trial of Mario Nikolov for the draining of SAPARD funds because the evidence in Bulgaria was the same as it was for the same case in Germany. The persons sentenced for the draining of the EUR 7 M in SAPARD funds in Germany have already served their sentences. But in Bulgaria – let me remind you that Mario Nikolov was one of the sponsors of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. How do you think that he might be sentenced?!?", Tsvetanov asked rhetorically, apparently alleging a link between notorious SAPARD case defender Nikolov and the former government led by the now opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.

"I wouldn't believe that he can be sentenced in Bulgaria. If he had committed this crime abroad, he would have been sentenced, and would have already served his term," said the Bulgarian Interior Minister, who has often been very critical of the Bulgarian judiciary but at the same time has come under fire for encroaching against the separation of powers, and democratic freedoms.

"This is Bulgaria, this is the political class, this is the merger of persons abusing funds of both the Bulgarian and the European taxpayers but when they have political support, when they have funded a political party, this becomes a very unpleasant topic, and that is why they avoid answering these questions," said Tsvetanov, apparently referring to the former government.

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Tags: Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Interior Minister, organized crime, judiciary, judicial system, judicial reform, justice reform, Malaysia, drug trafficking, SAPARD, Mario Nikolov


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