109 HOME AFFAIRS – CRIME GROUP – MONEY LAUNDERING
Specialized Prosecution Office
Investigates Organized Crime
Group involved in Illegal Cigarette Production
Sofia, September 14 (BTA) – The Specialized Prosecution Office is investigating an organized crime group involved in the illegal production of cigarettes and money laundering, the office said in a press release Friday. The investigation falls within the competence of the Plovdiv District Prosecution Office in view of the evidence gathered against the crime group.
On August 24, the Plovdiv District Prosecution Office charged 23 persons with possession of cigarettes without excise revenue stamps, produced in four illegally operating factories (one each in Toutrakan and in Gorna Oryahovitsa, Northern Bulgaria, and two in Doupnitsa, Southwestern Bulgaria) busted by the police and prosecuting magistracy. A total of 42 tonnes of tobacco were impounded, worth seven million leva. Also impounded were 190,000 cigarette packs of various brands worth 1,500,000 leva and all of the machines at the factories, forklifts, eleven heavy-duty trucks, and over ten vans and cars. It was established that the factories produced an average of 10,000 cigarette packs a day.
In the course of the investigation, the Plovdiv District Prosecution Office found evidence that the four illegal factories were managed by persons who were not among the 23 detainees, and that the production of cigarettes without excise revenue stamps was carried out by an organized crime group.
Early on Friday, the Specialized Prosecution Office launched searches and confiscations in offices of associations in Sofia managing the “Vezuviy” and “Serbian Restaurant Best” establishments, and interrogations of witnesses within the capital so as to detain the organized crime group’s leaders.