Special prosecutors raided two Sofia restaurants on September 14 in connection to an investigation into alleged money-laundering and illegal cigarette manufacturing, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The goal was to detain people believed to be the leaders of the organised crime group involved in making counterfeit cigarettes in four factories raided by Plovdiv prosecutors in August.
In that earlier raid, prosecutors pressed charges against 23 people for storing excise duties without the requisite tax stamps. Two people were arrested and four were under house arrest, the prosecutor’s office said.
Prosecutors found 42 tons of tobacco worth about seven million leva, or about 3.58 million euro, and 190 000 cigarette boxes worth 1.5 million leva in four illegal cigarette factories, located in the towns of Dupnitsa, Gorna Oryahovitsa and Toutrakan.
Although the initial investigation was launched by the Plovdiv district prosecutor’s office, it was transferred to the special prosecutor’s office, given its remit to investigate large-scale criminal activity.