The owner of the Hotel Rodina in Sofia, Vassil Ninov, and the hotel’s manager, Konstantin Georgiev, were among four foreign citizens arrested in the Greek city of Thessaloniki after police found 160kg of cocaine – with an estimated street value of 15 million euro – during searches of two motor vehicles.
The arrests of the two Bulgarians, as well as a Spanish citizen and a Portuguese citizen, took place as a result of a joint operation by Greek police and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.
Leading Greek daily Kathimerini said on July 12 2012 that the consignment of cocaine, believed to have been imported from Latin America, was destined for the Greek market.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister inBulgaria’s centre-right government, announced the names of Ninov and Georgiev, telling reporters that they should examine the political forces to which the two allegedly were linked.
Bulgarian-language media said that Ninov, a former president of Botev FC in Plovdiv, had been a major shareholder in the Balkan Universal Bank in the late 1990s, which failed in an episode alleged to have cost the Bulgarian state tens of millions of dollars. Tsvetanov alleged that Ninov also had been linked to financial irregularities involving the state reserve.