Former Bourgas city councillor faces organised crime charges for illegal loans
A former city councillor in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Bourgas is facing criminal charges for allegedly heading an organised crime group that prosecutors say lent money in contravention of banking laws and “bullied” people who were late with their payments, special prosecutors said on August 2 2012.
Ventsislav Chamurdzhiev, at the time of his 2010 arrest a councillor for Bulgaria’s Social Democrat Party, was held along with two others allegedly involved in the organised crime group, Georgi Minchev and Todor Ovcharov.
The group allegedly gave eight loans totalling 1.6 million leva (about 800 000 euro). The loans were given in leva and euro. The loans were for 12-month periods, with monthly interest of 10 per cent. Prosecutors said that Chamurdzhiev had no licence to be conducting such transactions.
The alleged illegal lending operation continued from 2007 to November 2010, when Chamurdzhiev was arrested.
Supervising prosecutor Emilia Staninska said that in most cases, those who got the loans were unable to repay them in the short time-frames granted, and faced harassment and death threats.
The loans of debtors often were secured with real estate, including apartments in Bulgaria’s popular Black Sea resort of Sunny Beach. In some cases, loans were given to gamblers in the district of Bourgas, prosecutors said.