An organised crime group that had been producing fake documents – including passports, identity cards, education certificates and driving licences – as well as forged euro, has been bust, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said on November 19.
The statement said that in February, the anti-organised crime squad had received a tip-off about the group.
The group, which was “well-structured and active” was structured on two levels, one finding customers and the other preparing fake documents and banknotes.
In a special operation on November 16 in Sofia, Varna and Kyustendil, six participants in the criminal scheme were taken into custody. Some had been acting as couriers.
Everyone in the group had long criminal records, three had effective sentences, and one was already in prison in Germany for forging banknotes.
Searches were carried out at 12 addresses while seven motor vehicles were searched.
Items seized included a large number of fake documents, a stamp with Bulgaria’s coat of arms, and the Traffic Police stamps of all 28 regional directorates of the Interior Ministry, as well as fake 100 euro.
The group was involved in preparing “almost the entire palette of documents used by the administrative institutions in the country,” the statement said.
The price list include 600 leva (about 300 euro) for an international passport or identity card, 300 leva for a driving licence, 180 for a primary education certificate, 250 leva for a secondary school certificate, 650 leva for a higher education degree and 150 leva for a false birth certificate.
The workmanship was of such high quality that only a specialist could distinguish the forgery, the statement said.
“The main clients were from North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, there were also those of Arab and Asian origin, the relevant documents were used mainly within the EU, the services of the group also benefited from migrant trafficking channels,” the Interior Ministry said.
Those taken into custody have been indicted. Three were remanded in custody by the Special Court, one placed under house arrest for reasons of poor health and another was released on bail.
(Photo: Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry press centre)