Details emerge of traffic police bribery schemes – and the risks of attempted bribery

Two years on from the September 2011 special operation to catch Bulgarian traffic police in the act of bribery, further details of just how endemic corruption was among the squads.

But that, in turn, is still not the full picture – and erring motorists may be well advised not to try to “settle” matters by offering a blue note or two (or three), whether denominated in euro or leva.

This past August, a Romanian motorist was stopped in the Veliko Turnovo region for unlawful overtaking. He refused to sign the traffic citation, while at the same time, his passenger held out a 20 euro note through the open window.

This resulted in arrest for both, according to an Interior Ministry statement.

The case was not an isolated one, and lest cynics suggest that the offer of 20 euro was below the price range of a Bulgarian traffic police officer, consider the tale of the 33-year-old Bulgarian arrested in Chirpan for declining a breathalyser test after having been stopped when he was seen driving erratically. Taken for a blood sample and to be fined for refusing the breathalyser, he offered 112 leva (not endearing himself to the police officer by throwing it at his feet) and was promptly handcuffed and led back into the police station as pre-trial proceedings were initiated for attempted bribery.

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(Photo: Bart Groenhuizen/