From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Bulgarian mafia is an informal term to
describe any number of organized crime groups originating from Bulgaria.
Organised crime groups
Bulgarian organised crime groups are involved in a
wide range of activities, including drug trafficking,
cigarette smuggling, human
trafficking, prostitution, illicit antiquities trafficking, extortion (often under the
cover of ostensible security and insurance companies) and the arms trade. They
appear to have connections with the Russian Mafia, Croatian mafia, Serbian Mafia, Macedonian Mafia and the Italian Cosa Nostra.
- Gen. Lyuben Gocev - Retired Secret Service general, allegedly
connected with SIC. He is suspected of
being the “eminence grise” of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party
and its connection with the mafia. Gocev was a minister of foreign
affairs in the 1990s.
- Veselin Georgiev, aka "Panterkata" - Co-founder of SIC
- Krasimir Marinov, aka "Big Margin" - Co-founder of SIC
- Nikolay Marinov, aka "Small Margin" - Co-founder of SIC
- Mladen Mihalev, aka Madzho - Co-founder of SIC 
- Ventsislav Stefanov - Co-founder of SIC
Nikolov, aka "Pashata" - Co-founder of SIC
- Vasil Bozhkov, aka "The Skull" - Billionaire and gambling
mogul. While there is no evidence of criminal activities, he has
connections with SIC mob bosses and is
suspected of calling upon their services.
- Zlatomir Ivanov, aka "Zlatko Baretata" - Drug smuggler.
- Plamen Galev
- Angel Hristov
Since the fall of communism in 1989, there have been more than
150 mafia-style contract killings in Bulgaria, frequently
perpetrated in the centre of the capital, Sofia, in broad daylight. There has been at most
in these cases to date, though sources differ. This is
frequently blamed on the alleged widespread corruption at all
levels of the Bulgarian judicial system including the Prosecutor's
The cost of contract killings carried out by highly professional
snipers has been estimated at approximately £20,000.
Some of the most prominent assassination targets of recent years
(in chronological order):
- Vasil Iliev -
Founder of VIS1 and VIS2. Ambushed by
an unknown killer on his way to Club "Mirage" on 25 April
Karamanski, aka "The Godfather" - Shot by a drunk acquaintance
in front of his house on 20 December 1998.
- Pantyu Pantev, aka "Polly" - Drug smuggler,
initially affiliated with VIS, later with SIC. He was rumoured to
have stolen half a ton of cocaine from the Russian or Colombian mafia. Several
assassination attempts, including one with a missile,all
atempts for diferent reasons from different rivals . He was shot
dead on the Caribbean island of Aruba on 9 March 2001.
- Iliya Pavlov -
Founder of Multigroup
and the wealthiest individual in Bulgaria. There is no official
evidence for criminal activities but he was widely considered to be
one of the bosses of the mafia. Former employees claim that he was
involved in a prostitution ring. He was shot dead in
front of his office in Sofia on 3 July 2003 (a failed assassination
attempt had been made in 1997).
- Konstantin Dimitrov, aka
"Samokovetsa" - Drug smuggler and billionaire, connected
with VIS. Shot
dead in Amsterdam on 7
- Dimitar Hristov, aka Mitko the Little One - Shot dead on 4 June
2004 in a cafe together with his bodyguards Kaloyan Savov and
Zhivko Mitev by two hitmen disguised as Eastern Orthodox
- Milcho Bonev, aka "Baj Mile" - One of the founders of SIC and closely associated
with Mladen Mihalev, aka Madzho. He was believed to be an important
link in the drug trafficking and distribution network in the
Balkans, and was investigated by Bulgarian and Serbian special
services. He had survived an earlier assassination attempt in
September 2001. Bonev was shot dead in broad daylight in a
garden-restaurant in Sofia on 20 July 2004 together with five of
- Georgi Iliev -
Brother of Vasil
Iliev and head of VIS2. Shot dead in front of his club at Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
on 25 August 2005.
- Emil Kyulev -
Former elite swimmer and banker, connected with SIC. Shot dead while
driving down Boulevard Bulgaria in Sofia
on 26 October 2005.
- Anton Miltenov, aka "The Beak" - Drug smuggler,
right-hand man of Konstantin
"Samokovetsa" Dimitrov. Shot dead in a popular cafe in the
centre of Sofia on 30 October 2005 (together with his co-workers
Ivan "The Ghost" Todorov and Nikolay "The Eyeglasses" Dobrev). An
earlier attempt on his life had been made on 28 June 2002.
- Ivan Todorov,
aka "The Doctor" - Drug smuggler and billionare. Shot dead on
22 February 2006. He had survived a previous assassination attempt
on 18 April 2003 in which his Mercedes was blown up while driving down
the main boulevard of Sofia.
- Georgi Stoev -
Former wrestler, connected with VIS and SIC. Had written nine books
about Bulgaria's mafia bosses, many of whom he claimed to know
personally. Shot dead in Sofia
on 7 April 2008.
- Georgi Kalapatirov - Chairman of Bulgaria's football team Lokomotiv Plovdiv, shot dead in 1995.
- Georgi Prodanov - Chairman of Bulgaria's football team Lokomotiv Plovdiv, shot dead in 1995.
- Petar Petrov - Chairman of Bulgaria's
football team Lokomotiv
Plovdiv, shot dead in 1998.
- Georgi Iliev -
Chairman of Bulgaria's football team Lokomotiv
Plovdiv, shot dead in August 2005.
Popov - Chairman of Bulgaria's football team Lokomotiv Plovdiv, shot dead in 2005.
- Alexander Tasev - Chairman of Bulgaria's football team Lokomotiv Plovdiv, shot dead in May
- Yanko Yankov - Mayor of Elin Pelin, shot dead in January 2007.
- Dimitar Yankov - Chairman of the Municipality Council of the
seaside town of Nesebar,
shot dead in May 2007.
Georgiev - Director of AtomEnergoRemont, one of the major
Bulgarian energy companies. Shot dead in April 2008.
- Petar Lupov - Prominent lawyer, involved in the defense team
for a group of shareholders of the former Trakya Bank against DZI
Bank. Shot dead on 25 March 2009 in Veliko Tarnovo.
- Bobi Tsankov - Controversial investigative journalist, criminal
writer and scam artist. Shot dead in downtown Sofia, January 2010.
prosecution and fight against criminal networks
In 2006, the EU dispatched the head of Germany's criminal
investigation office Klaus Jansen to assess Bulgaria's progress in
fighting organised crime. He concluded that Bulgaria had failed to
implement modern principles and methods in the fight against crime,
criticising among other things the low commitment of the country's
police force to combat organised crime. The
report further observed that "indictments, prosecutions, trials,
convictions and deterrent sentences remain rare in the fight
against high-level corruption" and described efforts to fight crime
as "a total mess". Jensen also suggested that European police
information passed to Sofia could end up with criminals. In a
reaction to the report, Interior Minister Roumen Petkov described
the findings as exaggerated and protested against Jansen's way of
presenting the situation in Bulgaria which, in his words,
demonstrated his incompetence.
In the Bulgarian judicial system, the Prosecutor General is elected by a
qualified majority of two-thirds from all the members of the
Supreme Judicial Council and is appointed by the President of the
Republic. The Supreme Judicial Council is in charge of the
self-administration and organisation of the Judiciary.
List of Prosecutor Generals in Bulgaria post-1989:
- Boris Velchev - in office since 26 February 2006
- Nikola Filchev - employee of the state security services before
1989 (and allegedly of the KGB as well)
- General Ivan Tatarchev
- Martin Gounev
- see also History of Bulgaria since
Much of the post-Communist Bulgarian mafia originates
from the professional sportsmen and especially the wrestlers
of the Communist
period (1944–1989). The Iliev brothers, Krasimir "Big Margin"
Marinov and Iliya
Pavlov were all students of the school for future champions
"Olympic Hopes" (Bulgarian: "Олимпийски надежди").
In post-1990 Bulgaria, the word борец ("wrestler") came to
denote a mafia man (a common synonym is мутра, literally "mug"). The image
of the Bulgarian "mug", including a sturdy physical build, a black
suit, sunglasses, a
shaved head, and golden jewellery, became iconic
for the so-called Bulgarian "transition" (to market
The mafia came to control much of Bulgarian business, so the word "businessman" acquired
similar undertones. The "mugs" also infiltrated Bulgarian politics
(it was often alleged that SIC and VIS were connected to the
two main parties of the 1990s, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and
the Union of Democratic Forces,
As the UDF government (1997–2001) made the registration of the
criminal insurance businesses more difficult, much of their
networks and personnel were integrated into existing legal
insurance firms, while at the same time the principal bosses moved
the focus of their attention to smuggling, trade and privatization.
During the government of National
Movement Simeon II (2001–2005), assassinations became
especially common. There was also frequent evidence for the close
ties between the criminal networks and politicians and officials.
UDF chief prosecutor
Ivan Tatarchev allegedly recreated together with Ivo Karamanski,
minister Milen Velchev was photographed playing cards with Ivan
"The Doctor" Todorov, and most recently BSP interior minister Rumen Petkov negotiated
with the shadowy "Galev brothers".
- ^ a
"Bulgarian Mobster Suspect
Widow Testifies in Court". Sofia News Agency. October
31, 2007. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=87034.
- ^ a
"Corruption still dogs
Bulgaria on eve of ruling on membership". The
Guardian. May 15, 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/may/15/eu.politics. Retrieved
"EU warns Bulgaria after
killings". BBC News. April 8, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7337210.stm.
"Murders prompt EU warning
for Bulgaria over organised crime". The Independent.
April 9, 2008. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/europe/murders-prompt-eu-warning-for-bulgaria-over-organised-crime-806330.html. Retrieved
- ^ a
"SIC transit gloria".
Capital. March 17, 2001. http://www.capital.bg/show.php?storyid=207689. Retrieved
"Bulgarian Mobster Murder
Trial in Court Again". Sofia News Agency. July 13,
- ^ "Emil Kyulev: Who Was
He?". FOCUS News Agency. October 26, 2005. http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?r=1&catid=99&ch=0&newsid=75115.
- ^ "Police Release Picture of
Bulgaria's Top Banker Suspect Killer". Sofia News
Agency. October 26, 2005. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=54300.
- ^ "Chronicle of a Death
Foretold: Georgi Stoev's Gangster Pulp". The Nation.
April 29, 2009. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090518/kenarov. Retrieved
"Typical News from
"Prominent Veliko Tarnovo
Lawyer Shot in Broad Daylight". Sofia News Agency.
March 25, 2009. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=102230.
"Bobi Tsankov was killed in a
shooting in the Sofia centre". Dnevnik. January 5,
"Bulgarian mafia turf wars to
hit EU". The Times Online (London). May 21, 2006. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article722725.ece.
""Es wird Kämpfe geben"".
Der Spiegel. June 26, 2006. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-47360734.html?name=Es+wird+K%26auml%3Bmpfe+geben.
"Bush’s Bulgarian Partner in
the Terror War Has Mob History, Investigators Say".
Congressional Quarterly. March 2, 2007. http://public.cq.com/docs/hs/hsnews110-000002461932.html.
"Anti-crime fight problems
hinder Bulgaria's EU accession - Jansen". The Sofia
Echo. June 26, 2006. http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/anti-crime-fight-problems-hinder-bulgarias-eu-accession---jansen/id_16129/catid_66.
"Structure of the Prosecutor’s Office in the
Republic of Bulgaria". http://www.prb.bg/html/e_structure.htm. Retrieved July 2,
- ^ a
Залязват ли мутрите, или облакът е тъмен. Йово НИКОЛОВ. В-к
Капитал. Брой 35, 03 септември 2005, 00:00
- Iliya Trojanow (August 16, 2006). "Bulgaria: the mafia's dance
to Europe". Open Democracy. http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-europefuture/bulgaria_3825.jsp.
- Iliya Trojanow (January 19, 2006).
"Bulgaria's red mafia on
Europe's trail". Open Democracy. http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-europefuture/bulgaria_3194.jsp.
- Centre for the Study of Democracy (2003) The Drug Market In
- Misha Glenny, The Rebirth Of History: Eastern Europe in the
Age of Democracy (Penguin Books, 1990)
- Misha Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia (Penguin Books,
- Misha Glenny, The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great
Powers, 1804-1999 (Penguin Books, 1999)
- Misha Glenny, McMafia: A Journey Through
the Global Criminal Underworld (The Bodley Head in the UK and Alfred A. Knopf
in the US, 2008)
- "Bulgarian mafia boss shot
dead". BBC News. December 20, 1998. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/239103.stm.
- "Bulgarian tycoon gunned
down". BBC News. March 8, 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/2832167.stm.
- "Bulgarian football boss shot
dead". BBC News. August 26, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4187710.stm.
- "Bulgarian sex slave gang
smashed". BBC News. October 17, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6059280.stm.
- "Laying bait for child
smugglers". BBC News. July 27, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6915656.stm.
- "Bulgaria under pressure over
crime". BBC News. June 7, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7440551.stm.
- "Reading Room - The ABC of
Bulgaria's Drug Trade". The Sofia Echo. December 18,
- "Tight Security, Melee as
Bulgarian Gangster Boss Turns up in Court". Sofia News
Agency. May 16, 2007. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=80735.
- "Bulgaria's Football Elite
Flock to Iliev's Memorial Service". Sofia News Agency.
August 28, 2005. http://www.bhhrg.org/mediaDetails.asp?ArticleID=475.
- "The Polish Magazine Wprost's
list of top 100 of the richest men in Eastern Europe". http://najbogatsieuropejczycy.wprost.pl.
- Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter (4
May 2006). "Deutscher Beamter allein
gegen Bulgarien". http://www.bdk.de/index.php?id=bundesvorstand-aktuelles-archiv-artikel&tx_ttnews(tt_news)=559&cHash=481246639c.