Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General: Probe Into “Investment Interests” Behind Tobacco Town Fire

Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov says that the investigation into the fire that gutted an ensemble of historic tobacco warehouses in Plovdiv will go beyond the alleged perpetrator to check whether there were “investment interests” behind the blaze.

Tsatsarov, who was born and educated in Plovdiv, came to Bulgaria’s second city and future European Capital of Culture on August 23 to inspect the site of the “Tobacco Town” warehouses fire and give a briefing on the investigation.

His visit came a day after the arrest was announced of a homeless man, said to have several criminal convictions, and an official statement claiming that the inferno had started on August 20 after the accused man dropped a cigarette.

There has been considerable public outrage about the fire, and the state in which the buildings, which date back to the early 20th century when Plovdiv had an important place in the Balkan tobacco trade, had been allowed to remain. The buildings have multiple ownerships, mostly through companies, as outlined in local media reports by Plovdiv Bulgarian-language website podtepeto.com.

The public outrage has been directed towards state and municipal institutions, with participants in an August 21 protest after the fire saying that police and prosecutors were among those failing to do their jobs.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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