Former Varna city councillor jailed for 10 years on organised crime charges

A former city councillor in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna has been jailed for 10 years after being found guilty of leading an organised crime group involved in illegal drug dealing, money laundering, prostitution and human trafficking.

Varna businessman Ivan Slavkov, who was a city councillor for Ahmed Dogan’s Movement for Rights and Freedoms, was arrested in October 2008.

Four other accused – Nikolai Hadzhimihailov, Yanko Kolev, Svilen Nikolov and Peicho Peev – also were found guilty by the Varna Regional Court and sentenced to jail terms varying from two and a half years to six years.

The group operated from 1996 until the time of the arrests in 2008, the court heard.

The group made money from a large-scale prostitution ring in Varna and nearby Black Sea summer holiday resorts, and from trafficking in women and men.

At the time of the arrests, investigators confiscated large sums in cash, six Kalashnikov automatic rifles and dozens of mobile phones.

The court heard evidence from about 60 witnesses and 30 expert witnesses and documentary evidence added up to more than 90 volumes.

The Varna Regional Court verdict is subject to appeal.

The court rejected a request by Slavkov to travel to Brussels at the invitation of MEP Slavi Binev.

(Photo of Varna municipal building: Nikola Gruev)




The Sofia Globe staff

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