Featured Bulgaria

Explainer: How Bulgaria became the EU’s mafia state

For two months, Bulgarians have packed the streets every night to protest that an oligarchic mafia has captured the state and extended its reach deep into institutions such as the judiciary, media and security services. They are demanding the resignations of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Chief Prosecutor Ivan… Read More

A hidden tycoon, African explosives, and a loan from a notorious bank: questionable connections surround Beirut explosion shipment

OCCRP – Since the devastating explosion of a store of ammonium nitrate in Beirut’s port on August 4, Lebanese citizens have taken to the streets in shock, outrage, and grief. Above all, they have demanded answers: Where did the nearly 3,000 tons of explosive chemicals come from, and who… Read More

ECB withdraws Malta-based bank’s licence

A Malta-based bank, Satabank, has had its licence withdrawn by the European Central Bank, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and the Malta Financial Services Authority said on Wednesday. The decision was taken on the recommendation of the authority. The Bulgarian-owned bank, established in 2014, had its 12,000 accounts frozen by the… Read More
17th June 2020
Experts and opposition-minded politicians warned during an online conference on Monday (January 15th) of a “huge” risk of corruption in connection with the generous funds the European Commission has proposed to mobilise in response to the coronavirus crisis. The conference, organised by EURACTIV Bulgaria and MEP Radan Kanev (EPP, Democratic… Read More
17th June 2020
Fifteen defendants including several Romanians have pleaded guilty before a US judge of involvement in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud US citizens through online auctions of non-existing goods, a US Justice Department statement issued on Monday by the US embassy in Bucharest said. The defendants, many of whom were… Read More
10th June 2020
Bulgarian prosecutors call Vasil Bozhkov the nation’s most dangerous man. Now the fugitive gambling tycoon is planning to return home to exonerate himself by toppling the government. Once ranked among eastern Europe’s richest people, the 63-year-old has been in a self-imposed exile in Dubai since January. He’s awaiting a… Read More
24th April 2020
The European Commission is recommending a “phasing out” of Malta’s citizenship sale scheme, in a letter sent to the government. EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders confirmed during a European Parliament Civil Liberties and Justice committee debate on Thursday that the Commission had written to Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus about transition… Read More
16th April 2020
By Will Neal, OCCRP, 15 April 2020 OCCRP — Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have brought fraud charges against the co-founder of a cryptocurrency scheme that allegedly defrauded would-be investors of as much as US$16 billion, but experts warn there is still a long way to go before justice is brought… Read More
9th April 2020
An international crime ring that conned hundreds of people out of millions of pounds has been broken up in police raids across Bulgaria and Serbia. Nine people were arrested in an operation co-ordinated by Europol and conducted by police in the two countries, as well as in Germany and Austria. Read More
31st March 2020
A Russian national described by the FBI as a “significant cybercriminal” has been charged in Pittsburgh with laundering money for other cybercriminals, joining five Latvians indicted here in January on similar charges. An FBI complaint was unsealed Monday against Maksim Boiko, 29, known as “gangass” in the cyberworld, after agents… Read More
24th February 2020
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has denied links to a suspected money-laundering scheme based in Barcelona. He issued the denial after a Barcelona-based newspaper published a front-page report on Friday claiming he and other senior officials in Sofia might be linked to another Bulgarian citizen in Spain suspected of laundering… Read More
13th February 2020
Public quarrels between politicians and rich businessmen over alleged links to organized crime are hardly new, especially in a country ranked among the most corrupt in Europe. The case of Vasil Bozhkov in Bulgaria, though, has captured the national imagination because it cuts to the heart of the Balkan country’s heritage. The… Read More
27th January 2020
Cypriot police are nearing the end of their probe into the allegedly fraudulent recapitalization of an insurance company that collapsed in 2018, leaving more than 200,000 drivers mainly in Bulgaria without coverage, and unpaid claims of 44.8 million euros. But an investigation by OCCRP and its Bulgarian member center, Bivol,… Read More